Edin Dzeko fired Manchester City to the top of the Premier League with a controversial and hard-fought victory over Newcastle at St. James' Park.
Dzeko applied a clinical finishing touch to Aleksandar Kolarov's driven cross to give Manuel Pellegrini's men the lead after only eight minutes.
Cheikh Tiote thought he had brought Newcastle level with a screamer in the 34th minute but referee Mike Jones disallowed the goal for offside against Yoann Gouffran. Alvaro Negredo then sealed City's win late.
The win is City’s 10th consecutive victory over Newcastle and lifts it a point clear of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League.
Less positive, though, was an apparent knee injury to Samir Nasri as the France international was hacked down by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in the second half and had to be stretchered off.
Alan Pardew made three changes from Newcastle’s last Premier League outing - a 1-0 defeat to West Brom on New Year’s Day - and handed Steven Taylor a first top-flight start since the opening day of the season.
City, which has endured a busy schedule of late with matches in the Premier League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup since the turn of the year, stuck with the in-form attacking duo of Negredo and Dzeko in the continued absence of Sergio Aguero.
And Manuel Pellegrini’s men were quick out of the blocks, going ahead in the eighth minute through Dzeko. Kolarov found the Bosnian with a superb low cross from the left, allowing him to fire into the roof of the net from close range for his 13th goal of the season in all competitions.
City continued to dominate as Newcastle struggled to keep hold of possession, with Kolarov sending a dangerous ball across the face of goal and agonizingly out of the reach of an outstretched Negredo, before the Spaniard headed over from a Nasri cross.
But Pardew’s side started to settle as Taylor guided the ball wide of the left-hand post from a corner and Yohan Cabaye blazed over from the tightest of angles.
Tiote had the ball in the back of the City net moments later - drilling home a sensational effort from 20 yards out - but, after consultation with his linesman, referee Jones controversially ruled out the effort for offside to the disbelief of all in black and white.
Joe Hart was called into action shortly before the hour mark as he dived to his right to deny a fizzing Cabaye effort, before getting down well to deny Loic Remy after the French striker was sent clean through on goal.
Fernandinho then hit the crossbar for City, but Negredo had better fortune in stoppage time as he slotted into the back of the net after reacting quickest to Krul's save from his initial effort - the Spaniard's fifth goal in his last three games.
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