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Man City 5-0 Fulham Prem 31 1314 Mirror

last updated Monday 24th March 2014, 12:08 PM
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Derick Allsop at The Mirror

Man City (1) 5 Fulham (0) 0

As a warm-up for their big week, Manchester City could scarcely have asked for more obliging opponents than hapless Fulham.

Felix Magath's side were never likely to disrupt their plan for a stress-free outing ahead of Tuesday's Manchester derby and Saturday's trip to Arsenal.

City strolled through the job, secure in the knowledge that the opportunities and the goals would come. And so they did, ultimately in torrents.

Fulham entered into the spirit of City's cause, presenting them with the two penalties that Yaya Toure put away to effectively bank the points.

Fernando Amorebieta's red card following the second award opened the gates and City helped ­themselves to more.

Toure completed his first hat-trick for the club in appropriately spectacular style, making it 20 in all from midfield this season.

Fernandinho (right) thundered a fourth and it tells you ­everything about Fulham when they allow Martin Demichelis to register his maiden goal for City.

Toure, David Silva and Samir Nasri were all given an early cut, Manuel Pellegrini protecting some of his key players for Old Trafford.

"We were thinking only about Fulham before this match, not about Manchester United" Pellegrini insisted. "We played very well, we were very balanced.

"Yaya received some ­criticism earlier in the season for the way he defended, but the way he plays is important for us. For a midfield player to score 20 goals is not easy."

Felix the Cat might have a better chance of saving Fulham on the evidence of this capitulation. They offered flickers of promise as City ­sauntered, but by the end the 10 men were in disarray.

Magath claimed the first penalty should not have been given, but condemned his players for giving up after the second.

He said: "The first was not a penalty and at that moment we lost the game. But we must fight for 90 minutes, not 60."

City's strangely lethargic start yielded only a penalty appeal from James Milner, which was dismissed by referee Jonathan Moss.

The winger hoped for better with a controlled crack that Fulham keeper David Stockdale was content to beat away.

Fulham's first genuine threat, midway through the first half, almost brought them the lead. City repelled Kieran Richardson's free-kick but couldn't clear the danger and the former United player drilled his second attempt just wide.

It was perhaps the scare City needed to find another gear and when Alvaro Negredo went down under a challenge from ­Amorebieta, Moss had another decision to make.

This time he appeared to consult his linesman and eventually pointed to the spot. Toure ambled up, Stockdale went the wrong way, 1-0.

Fulham weren't quite ready to fold. Richardson, revelling in his old advanced role, made a monkey of Demichelis and delivered a centre that asked just too much of Sascha Riether.

City took their turn to strike next and Amorebieta did well to cover his keeper and head off the line to deny Silva.

Amorebieta was probably relieved not to have been around to get in the way of Aleksandar Kolarov's blast, which smashed against the bar.

The central defender was centre stage again early in the second half for what proved his final act. He brought down a goal-bound Silva and Moss had no ­hesitation in awarding another penalty, as well as brandishing the red card.

Toure compounded the damage with a replay of his first conversion to score his 50th goal for City. Not that Toure had finished.

He gave another demonstration of his ability to bend the ball from distance and watched with satisfaction as Stockdale flung himself in vain.

Stockdale had more joy with Kolarov's effort, but Fernandinho's fierce shot beat him comprehensively and Demichelis could hardly have missed from a couple yards to make it five.

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