Man City beats Hull to keep pressure on Chelsea

STEVE DOUGLAS
Associated Press
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Manchester City's Javier Garcia, left, and Martin Demichelis, right, celebrate with goalkeeper Joe Hart after their 2-0 win against Hull City in their English Premier League soccer match at the KC Stadium, Hull, England, Saturday March 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

Manchester City kept in touch with leader Chelsea in the English Premier League race with a battling 2-0 victory at Hull on Saturday, while Fulham and West Bromwich Albion grabbed vital wins in the scrap to avoid relegation.

City played 80 minutes with 10 men after captain Vincent Kompany's sending-off but was rarely troubled as goals by David Silva and Edin Dzeko trimmed the gap to six points to Chelsea, which played Aston Villa late.

Everton scored in the third minute of injury time to beat Cardiff 2-1 and provisionally climb above Manchester United to sixth place, two points behind Tottenham.

The bottom seven teams are separated by just five points after last-place Fulham beat Newcastle 1-0 for the team's first victory under new manager Felix Magath.

Third-from-bottom Sunderland missed a good chance to jump out of the relegation zone by drawing 0-0 at home to lowly rival Crystal Palace, and West Brom took advantage with a 2-1 win at Swansea to move three points clear of danger.

Norwich remained in trouble by losing 4-2 at Southampton and Stoke beat West Ham 3-1 in a match between two mid-table teams.

Doubts were suddenly swirling around Man City's title bid after a slump in form that saw the team lose to second-tier Wigan in the FA Cup quarterfinals, eliminated from the Champions League by Barcelona, and slip nine points off the pace in the Premier League.

A win in adversity at Hull will silence the doubters — especially considering Kompany's 10th-minute red card for pulling back Nikica Jelavic when last man — and lifted City provisionally into second place above Liverpool and Arsenal, who play games on Sunday.

"Playing with one player less for 80 minutes is very difficult," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. "It was a great performance. We played well with and without the ball."

Silva curled home the opening goal from outside the area in the 14th minute and the Spain playmaker set up Dzeko for the clinching second in the 90th.

Everton boosted hopes of securing European football for next season with its win over Cardiff at Goodison Park, secured when Seamus Coleman mis-hit a shot into the net with seconds remaining in stoppage time.

Gerard Deulofeu, on loan from Barcelona, made the home team's breakthrough in the 59th following a string of brilliant saves by Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall. Juan Cala bundled in a scrappy equaliser for next-to-last Cardiff in the 69th.

The heart-breaking defeat was made all the worse for Cardiff with the news that Fulham closed the gap to just one point by beating Newcastle thanks to Ashkan Dejagah's goal in the 68th.

That has thrown the relegation battle wide open, with Fulham just three points away from safety after its first win since New Year's Day.

Stephane Sessegnon and Youssouf Mulumbu scored second-half goals as West Brom came from behind at Swansea to give under-pressure manager Pepe Mel his first win since taking over on Jan. 9.

"We know we are a good team even if every newspaper you read says we are going to go down," said Mulumbu, who grabbed an 85th-minute winner. "I think in the second half we showed the real face of West Brom and I hope we are going to keep doing that."

Morgan Schneiderlin, Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and Sam Gallagher were the goalscorers for Southampton against Norwich, which is four points off the bottom three but has played more games than most of its relegation rivals.