Toure guides City to victory
Yaya Toure helped Manchester City stay in touch with Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United by sealing a hard-fought 3-1 win at Newcastle.
The reigning champions looked to be coasting to victory at St James' Park after Sergio Aguero and Javi Garcia gave them a 2-0 lead before the break.
Demba Ba dragged Newcastle back into the game with a 51st-minute header and Papiss Cisse came agonisingly close to rescuing a point in front of a raucous crowd of 49,579, but the visitors eased over the line when Toure restored their two-goal advantage 12 minutes from time.
The Magpies enjoyed the better of the possession in the first 10 minutes and might have been ahead had Joe Hart not got down smartly to turn away Cisse's early half-volley from Cheick Tiote's cross.
The pace and movement of Samir Nasri, David Silva, Carlos Tevez and Aguero, coupled with the vision of the imperious Toure, was simply too much for Newcastle to handle at times and had it not been for the efforts of goalkeeper Tim Krul, the game could have been out of their reach long before the half-time whistle sounded.
City took the lead in breathtakingly simple, but magnificently constructed style with 10 minutes gone when a Toure pass split the home defence and Nasri unselfishly squared for Aguero to slide the ball into the empty net.
Tevez was denied a second three minutes later by Krul's point-blank save and Nasri fired against the foot of the post after 20 minutes before Mike Williamson blocked Aguero's follow-up on the line.
City doubled their lead with six minutes of the half remaining. This time, City adopted a far more prosaic approach as Garcia met Silva's left-wing corner with a header which full-back Davide Santon perhaps should have cleared at the far post, but could only hack into his own net.
Newcastle got back in the game with 51 minutes gone when, after Vurnon Anita's corner had been half-cleared, Fabricio Coloccini hooked the ball back into the penalty area where Ba beat the offside trap to head firmly past Hart.
The Magpies came within inches of levelling two minutes later when Cisse span on Anita's pass and fired inches over but City made sure 12 minutes from time when Pablo Zabaleta got in down the left and crossed for Toure to make it 3-1.