Goals from Sergio Agüero and Samir Nasri helped seal a hard-fought victory for Manchester City, against a resolute West Bromwich Albion side - eager to add spice to an ever-brewing top-four battle as the 2015/16 campaign draws to an eventual close.
With both Manchester United and West Ham eagerly vying for Champions League qualification, the Citizens knew prior to kick-off that only a win would help boost their own European aspirations - days after an excellent away showing in their quarter-final clash with Paris Saint-Germain.
Sessegnon's sweet strike silences hosts
It took only five minutes for the opener, and Sessegnon's bullet flew past a helpless Joe Hart at his near post. James McClean's cross evaded the entire City backline and the midfielder blasted his effort low and hard goalwards - leaving the England number one rooted to the spot.
City awarded fast response
City were shocked and needed a response. They got one in the 17th minute when goalscorer Sessegnon was penalized after an outstretched leg tackle on the advancing Aleksandar Kolarov. Replays showed the decision was harsh, but Agüero stepped up to the plate and slotted into the bottom corner to net his 130th City goal in his 200th appearance for the club.
Kolarov attempted to replicate his wonder strike against Bournemouth last weekend, and almost did so to gift City the lead - but watched as his effort swerved agonisingly wide of the crossbar. Craig Gardner dragged a shot wide, there were a number of goalmouth scrambles whilst Agüero himself was unlucky not to complete his brace - but for a smart save from goalkeeper Ben Foster. In the 65th minute though, City's persistence in-front of goal was finally rewarded. Agüero's shot was initially blocked but it fortunately trickled back into the Argentine - who slipped the ball into the path of Nasri, making no mistake from close-range to make it 2-1.
There were a few half-chances created by both teams in the final 25 minutes, as City looked to solidify their slender advantage whilst Tony Pulis' side were eager to draw level. Saido Berahino saw his golden opportunity on-goal trickle past the far post after a well-worked team move in-and-around the hosts' area, before Nasri curled an effort narrowly wide - watching the strike float past the crossbar. Gardner's powerful free-kick was tipped over the bar by a determined Hart, as you could tell he knew just how important securing all three points were in the dying minutes of the spectacle.
In virtually the last kick of the game, McClean fired narrowly wide from a corner-kick. It epitomised West Brom's efforts throughout - valiant and admirable, but just not enough to steal a point, which would've been deserved in all fairness to the Baggies. As for Manuel Pellegrini's side, they were slightly fortunate to come away with all the spoils but their quality ultimately shone through in a game they didn't perform particularly well in.