LONDON, February 10 – Manchester City moved back on to Liverpool's shoulder in the race for a place in next season's Champions League with a 2-0 win over Bolton on Tuesday.
A Carlos Tevez penalty and Emmanuel Adebayor’s second-half volley left City level on points with fourth-placed Liverpool with a game in hand, although it was far from being a performance to suggest they deserve a place among Europe’s elite.
Tevez’s 31st-minute penalty was dispatched after Paul Robinson had needlessly sliced down England under-21 winger Adam Johnson, who made an impressive debut for City following his transfer window move from Middlesbrough.
City were far from dominant however and Bolton were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when Kolo Toure appeared to bring down Bolton’s Swedish forward Johan Elmander in the area.
The home side made the most of that let-off however with Adebayor chesting down a pass from former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira, also making his first start in a City shirt, before smashing his finish past Jussi Jaaskelainen with 17 minutes to play.
Basement club Portsmouth enjoyed a rare moment to savour this season when Aruna Dindane headed home in the sixth minute of injury time to salvage a 1-1 draw with Sunderland, who had looked set to claim their first league win since November thanks to Darren Bent’s 12th-minute penalty.
Bent slotted the spot-kick past England team-mate David James after being brought down by Pompey’s recent signing Ricardo Rocha, who earned himself a red card in the process.
Sunderland were unable to make their numerical advantage really count and the sides were evened up when Lee Cattermole was given his marching orders after collecting a second yellow card nine minutes after the break.
Steve Bruce’s side finished the match with nine men after substitute David Meyler received the third red card of the evening and Dindane’s far-post header saw Portsmouth snatch an equaliser right at the death.
Wigan edged a little further away from the relegation zone after a 1-1 draw with Stoke at the DW Stadium.
Austria international Paul Scharner headed in a Charles N’Zogbia’s free-kick in the 14th minute to give Roberto Martinez’s side the lead.
That was cancelled out by Tuncay Sanli with quarter of an hour left and Wigan had goalkeeper Chris Kirkland to thank for their point with the former England international providing a fine stoppage-time save from James Beattie.