first_img1 Toure slots his penalty past Howard Manchester City closed the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea to three points as Yaya Toure’s first-half penalty sealed a 1-0 win over Everton at the Etihad.Manuel Pellegrini’s men took advantage of their title rivals dropping points for the first time this season after the Blues fell to a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle in Saturday’s early kick-off.City were far from their sparkling best, but Toure’s controversial spot kick was enough to secure a hard earned victory against the battling Toffees, who threatened to equalise in the closing stages.The Ivorian stepped up to coolly place his penalty past the diving Tim Howard after Phil Jagielka was adjudged to have felled James Milner midway through the first-half.The hosts were dealt an early blow when top goal scorer Sergio Aguero limped off inside five minutes after going down under a clumsy challenge from Muhamed Besic.Everton started the brighter with Romelu Lukaku causing an early scare for the City back-four, the Belgian finding space on the left but failing to find Samuel Eto’o at the back post, leaving Eliaquim Mangala to clear with ease.The former Porto star was lucky to stay on the pitch moments later when he produced a kung-fu style kick on Eto’o as the striker attempted to get a shot off inside the box, with referee Andre Marriner only producing a yellow card to the Frenchman.City’s first real venture forward ended with a scuffed curling effort from Toure as the defending champions tried to find a foothold in the game. And minutes later they were given a golden opportunity to take the lead after Jagielka clumsily clashed with Milner, and Toure stepped up and confidently sidefooted home to give the hosts the advantage.Kevin Mirallas’ volley came close to bringing the Toffees level midway through the first-half but his goal-bound effort deflected just wide of the post, and his chance was the closest the visitors came to a leveller in a quiet opening 45 minutes.The hosts nearly doubled their lead four minutes into the second half through youngster Jose Pozo – who was chosen to replace the injury stricken Aguero. The 18-year-old met Milner’s cut back with a fine effort but the Spaniard was magnificently denied his maiden Premier League goal by the diving Howard.Martinez soon brought Ross Barkley on in an attempt to ignite some spark into Everton’s play as they continued to struggle to create any real openings.And his impact was almost immediate as the youngster darted through the City midfield before finding Eto’o, who saw his shot expertly blocked by Fernando as the visitors searched for an equaliser.That scare seemed to refocus Pellegrini’s men who had a number of inviting openings with Jesus Navas and Milner both going close to doubling the hosts advantage, only to find Everton shirts blocking everything thrown at them.Minutes later it was Mangala’s turn to throw his body in front of the ball as Eto’o belted an effort towards goal but the Frenchman’s back deflected the ball past Joe Hart’s post.  City really should have made the game safe with 12 to go, Frank Lampard creating a chance with his first touch as he dinked the ball through to Edin Dzeko, who then nodded to Milner who lashed his volley over the crossbar from 12 yards.And they were nearly made to pay for that miss, as Hart came to the Citizens’ rescue with a stunning one handed save to deny Lukaku’s late volley.Everton huffed and puffed in added time, but the hosts held on to claim a hard earned victory to close the gap at the top to three points.last_img read more