A deflected injury-time winner gave Manchester City a fortunate 2-1 Premier League win over Swansea City in a thrilling finish at the Etihad Stadium.
Playing their first game since the sacking of Garry Monk, who was dismissed on Wednesday following a miserable run of form that had seen them claim just one win in 11 league games, Swansea produced a battling performance worthy of at least a point.
However, one of their former players Wilfried Bony put caretaker manager Alan Curtis’ men seemingly on course for defeat with a 26th-minute header.
Substitute Bafetimbi Gomis levelled for Swansea as he lashed into the top corner at the near post in the final minute of normal time.
But there was one last twist in the tale as Yaya Toure’s curling effort took a huge deflection off Kelechi Iheanacho and looped into the net.
The victory sends City at least temporarily back to the top of the table while Swansea remain a point above the relegation zone.
City found it difficult to create chances in the early stages against a well-organised Swansea side that, after Bony had tested Lukasz Fabianski at the other end, went close to taking the lead in the 14th minute through Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Sigurdsson forced Joe Hart to turn his effort over following good work down the right from Wayne Routledge, but Swansea’s efforts in keeping City at bay were undone shortly after the midway point in the first half.
Bony escaped some poor marking to find space in the box and meet a corner from Jesus Navas – brought in for Fabian Delph by Manuel Pellegrini – with a powerful close-range header to net his second goal in as many games.
Swansea winger Andre Ayew was unfortunate not to provide an instant response as his headed effort from Sigurdsson’s free-kick flew narrowly over.
Raheem Sterling was replaced by Delph at the break but it was another midfielder in Toure who almost made it 2-0 in the 50th minute, the Ivorian’s curling free-kick drawing a strong diving save from Fabianski.
City remained vulnerable at the back and Hart was needed again to deny the impressive Sigurdsson at the near post after the Iceland international had latched on to Jack Cork’s throughball.
Hart was then required to get down to his right to keep out a low Sigurdsson free-kick but was finally beaten as Gomis pounced on some dreadful defending in emphatic fashion.
Yet Swansea were cruelly denied in the second minute of added time, Iheanacho’s goal providing relief for City as they ground out a win that puts pressure on their rivals at the top.