Manchester City recovered from Vincent Kompany’s early dismissal to edge out Hull City and move up to second in the Premier League table.
Captain Kompany saw red for bundling over Nikica Jelavic as the Croat ran towards goal inside 10 minutes.
But David Silva’s superb strike settled the nerves and Pablo Zabaleta almost made it 2-0 when his shot hit the bar.
The Tigers had plenty of possession but created little and Edin Dzeko sealed the win late on with a cool low finish.
Pellegrini hails 10-man Man City
Dzeko slotted past Allan McGregor after some excellent build-up play and a fine outside-of-the foot pass by City’s standout player Silva to ensure the visitors keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea after a miserable week in which they went out of the FA Cup and Champions League.
It was Silva’s stunning strike – within five minutes of Kompany’s red card – that gave City a boost just as it looked like there was potential for the title challenge to start unravelling on the back of defeats against Wigan and Barcelona.
Up until the dismissal, the hosts had looked the brighter side, despite being on a miserable run which had seen them lose four and win just one of their last seven top-flight matches at the KC Stadium.
Jelavic was the focal point, unsettling Kompany and his recalled centre-back partner Martin Demichelis.
The Croat had already threatened twice before he outmuscled a hesitant Kompany and was grappled to the floor – though the Belgian was furious with referee Lee Mason’s red card, claiming he had initially been fouled by Jelavic.
Yet despite their numerical disadvantage, it was City who started to look the more dangerous.
They played increasingly on the break after Silva’s wonderful curled strike and almost doubled their lead when full-back Zabaleta crashed a 20-yard volley against bar after a powerful run from Yaya Toure.
Ahmed Elmohamady was fortunate to only be cautioned for a studs-up challenge on Silva and, as Hull upped the tempo, David Meyler had a goal ruled out for offside and Jake Livermore sent a skidding long-range shot just wide.
Unsurprisingly, Hull began to enjoy greater possession after the interval and made a bright start.
Hull’s home struggles
Hull have now lost five of their last eight home league matches, with their only Premier League victory at the KC Stadium since 1 December being a 6-0 thumping of Fulham on 28 December.
Shane Long had a fierce strike saved by Joe Hart, Jelavic failed to properly connect with an inswinging free-kick and City striker Dzeko made a fine headed clearance to thwart James Chester.
Clear chances remained limited, but substitute George Boyd twice claimed a penalty in the closing stages.
The first came as Hart dived at his feet, the Hull forward’s reaction provoking an angry response from the goalkeeper, but the second appeal after a needless nudge by Fernandinho could easily have resulted in a spot-kick.
Then, after Jelavic had again failed to get on the end of another cross, Dzeko’s goal ensured City moved to within six points of Chelsea – who play Aston Villa in the evening kick-off.
Hull City manager Steve Bruce:
Bruce ‘frustrated’ by Man City defeat
“The turning point was the Silva goal. They defended deep, we huffed and puffed and it ended up being a frustrating afternoon.
“We had a wonderful opportunity but we weren’t good enough to take advantage. We struggled to create a clear opening. We didn’t have that craft.”
On George Boyd penalty claims:
“I will have a word with George when the dust settles. Most players are waiting for the contact. The referee has made the right decision.
“The push in the back looked like a penalty.”
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini:
“It was a very good response after a very difficult week. We played well with and without the ball.
“It was a clear foul by Jelavic against Kompany before the tackle by Kompany. But the referee did not see it.
“I trust my players and the team. We kept the ball very well today – and without the ball you cannot make damage. I don’t remember any clear chances for Hull.”
- 01 McGregor
- 02 Rosenior Booked (Fryatt – 80′ )
- 03 Figueroa (Aluko – 45′ )
- 08 Huddlestone
- 05 Chester
- 06 Davies
- 27 Elmohamady Booked
- 14 Livermore
- 18 Jelavic
- 21 Long
- 07 Meyler (Boyd – 58′ )
- 04 Bruce
- 10 Koren
- 12 Fryatt
- 17 Boyd
- 20 Sagbo
- 22 Harper
- 24 Aluko
- 01 Hart Booked
- 05 Zabaleta Booked
- 22 Clichy
- 25 Fernandinho
- 04 Kompany Dismissed
- 26 Demichelis
- 08 Nasri (Jesús Navas – 81′ )
- 14 Javi García
- 10 Dzeko
- 42 Yaya Touré (Lescott – 71′ )
- 21 Silva (Kolarov – 91′ )
- 06 Lescott
- 07 Milner
- 09 Negredo
- 13 Kolarov
- 15 Jesús Navas
- 17 Rodwell
- 30 Pantilimon
Live Text Commentary
Full TimeMatch ends, Hull City 0, Manchester City 2.
Full TimeSecond Half ends, Hull City 0, Manchester City 2.
Attempt missed. Martín Demichelis (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Jesús Navas with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by James Chester.
SubstitutionSubstitution, Manchester City. Aleksandar Kolarov replaces David Silva.
Goal!Goal! Hull City 0, Manchester City 2. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by David Silva with a through ball.
Attempt saved. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Gaël Clichy.
Curtis Davies (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Edin Dzeko (Manchester City).
Attempt missed. Nikica Jelavic (Hull City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ahmed Elmohamady with a cross.
Offside, Hull City. Ahmed Elmohamady tries a through ball, but Matty Fryatt is caught offside.
Shane Long (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Gaël Clichy (Manchester City).
SubstitutionSubstitution, Manchester City. Jesús Navas replaces Samir Nasri.
SubstitutionSubstitution, Hull City. Matty Fryatt replaces Liam Rosenior.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Ahmed Elmohamady.
Foul by Shane Long (Hull City).
Samir Nasri (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Edin Dzeko (Manchester City).