Manchester City ran out 3-1 winners over Southampton at the Etihad Stadium during their Premier League clash on Saturday afternoon.
- Manchester City 3 Southampton 1
- De Bruyne opens scoring
- Deflected Delph effort doubles advantage
- Van Dijk strikes bar for visitors
- Long nods Saints back into game
- Kolarov seals victory for City
Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring for City after just nine minutes with a close range finish, before Fabian Delph doubled the hosts lead with a deflected effort from outside the Southampton box.
The Saints best chance of the first-half came through centre-back Virgil van Dijk as he struck the bar with a fine 30-yard effort, before Willy Caballero was forced into several saves as Ronald Koeman's men attempted to haul themselves back into the game.
Shane Long then stunned the hosts with a fine header immediately after the break notching his fifth goal of the season, but, Alexsandar Kolarov restored City's two goal advantage with twenty minutes remaining with a fine finish inside the Southampton box to give the host all three points.
City started at a furious pace and had the first opportunity of the game inside a minute after clever play on the edge of the area between Raheem Sterling and Yaya Toure fed in striker Sergio Aguero who saw his volley parried by Maarten Stekelenburg in the Southampton goal, eventually the ball was hacked clear after an ill-advised back pass from Steven Davis.
Stekelenburg was again tested just minutes later following a well struck free-kick from defender Kolarov saw the Saints stopper parry once more, before pouncing on the loose ball to deny the sliding Fernandinho a simple tap in.
City finally breached Southampton's defence inside the ninth minute as Maya Yoshida was caught in possession by winger Sterling who burst down the left and fed a wonderful ball across the box for De Bruyne who duly obliged with a sweeping finish into the Southampton goal.
The hosts continued their positive start when striker Aguero burst through on goal but Stekelenburg was equal to the Argentine and the ball eventually deflected away.
Manuel Pellegrini's men where dominant in every aspect and should have had a penalty when Davis blocked Fernandinho's headed effort off the line with his arm, but, City doubled their lead moments later through Fabian Delph's deflected effort flicked off a Saints shin and into the goal from the resulting corner after Roger East had waved away the protests.
Southampton finally responded to the onslaught with an attack of their own and centre-back Van Dijk was unlucky to see his furious strike rebound off the bar from just outside the City box.
Caballero was finally called into action in the City goal after punching away a Saints free-kick but the ball fell to Victor Wanyama in the area and the 34-year-old was equal to his acrobatic effort.
Dusan Tadic was brought on for Oriol Romeu at half-time and made an immediate impact with some clever play after sliding a quick free-kick down the right hand side to Saido Mane who produced a phenomenal ball into the box and Shane Long rose above everyone to nod the visitors back into the game.
Tadic, though, burst through the City back line and Caballero produced a fine double save to keep the hosts ahead with Southampton looking increasingly likely to level proceedings.
City fans, meanwhile, held their breath as talisman Aguero hobbled to the sidelines to be replaced by Wilfried Bony.
Both keepers were forced into relatively easy saves as the game started to open up, but, it was City who sealed all three points through a Kolarov volley after a chipped ball across the area from De Bruyne found the defender in acres of space.
James Ward-Prowse was subbed for Juanmi in response as Southampton continued to press for a way back into the game and it almost paid dividends as Mane broke free through the City defence but his low driven shot was pushed away with ease.
Kolarov then picked up a booking for time wasting in the final minute of stoppage time, but, his earlier goal had appeared to knock the Saints momentum in the dying stages as City claimed all three points to haul themselves back to the top of the Premier League temporarily.