Manchester City moved into second in the Barclays Premier League after a less than convincing 3-2 victory against relegation threatened Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.
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The home side had raced into a two-goal lead thanks to strikes from Sergio Aguero and Aleksandar Kolarov either side of the break, but the FA Cup finalist staged an spirited comeback and pulled level through Tom Cleverley and Carlos Sanchez.
But with just a minute left on the clock, City midfielder Fernandinho popped up with the winner to ensure they didn’t drop further points in the race for a top-four finish.
An error from Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan gifted Aguero his 21st league goal of the season as the American stopper made a mess of an attempted clearance and the ball fell nicely for the Argentine who found the net after just three minutes.
Mid-way through the second half City left-back Kolarov doubled the advantage with an superb free-kick and it looked as if the hosts were going to cruise to a routine home victory.
But just two minutes later the game was back in the balance as Cleverley, who is on-loan from Manchester United, scored his first goal for Villa to give them hope of getting at least a point.
Then in the 85th minute Colombian midfielder Sanchez completed the comeback as he volleyed home his first ever goal for the club following a corner.
Controversy followed soon after as Christian Benteke was adjudged to be offside when clean through on goal then a matter of seconds later Fernandinho took advantage of some poor Villa defending to thump home the winner for a relieved City side.
City leapfrog Arsenal in the table for 24 hours at least, while Villa remain in trouble down at the bottom and are just two points clear of the relegation zone having played one game more than some of their rivals.