by Rachel Ogbu
Carlos Tevez, the Argentine Manchester City player provided the standout moment of an otherwise disappointing game with his thunderous winner over Swansea City. He hit a 25-yard pile driver just after the hour mark in a game that featured 12 minutes and 42 seconds of stoppage time at the end of the longest second half in Premier League history.
The match at the Etihad Stadium ended with Manchester City 1-0 win after delays caused the game to run into 12 minutes of injury time after lengthy stoppages for injuries to Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm and Swansea defender Micah Richards who suffered what appeared a potentially season-ending knee injury.
Tevez lifted reigning champions Manchester City back to within a point of the Barclays Premier League summit.
Having lost their midweek Champions League game away to Ajax, this represented a return to winning ways but was another disappointing performance from Roberto Mancini’s champions.
Three days after their humbling defeat in Amsterdam, City produced a first-half display just as plodding, just as predictable and just as devoid of ideas.
The best chance of the first half – in fact the only one of note – fell to Swansea striker Michu, who raced in one-on-one but could not beat Joe Hart, who rushed out well to block the shot.
City saved their worst for last – the final moment of the first half was a free-kick boomed hopelessly into the crowd by Aleksandar Kolarov, who was promptly replaced.
A different City side emerged after the break. Almost immediately, substitute Mario Balotelli had a shot blocked and Sergio Aguero nearly latched on to a through ball.
Minutes later, a low Samir Nasri cross found Balotelli whose shot, under pressure, spiralled high over the bar, then Balotelli just failed to meet a Richards cross while claiming he was pulled back by a Swansea defender.
Michu then squandered his second great chance of the game, failing to convert a header from Pablo Hernandez’s pinpoint cross.
The punishment was swift and brutal, as Tevez took aim and lashed the ball into the left corner of Vorm’s net from outside the box.
Vorm was stretchered off, injured in the act of diving for Tevez’s shot.
City eased off, allowing Jonathan de Guzman a 25 yard strike that bent wickedly and flashed just wide of Hart’s goal.
But the momentum was stopped again by Richards’s injury. The defender broke down with nobody around him, and lay on the pitch clutching his right knee for several minutes before being carried off.
City is a point behind Chelsea, which hosts Manchester United on Sunday, while Swansea is 10th.