Manchester City 3 - 0 Stoke City: Carlos Tevez topples Stoke

CARLOS Tevez drew level with Dimitar Berbatov in the battle for the Golden Boot as his superb brace left Manchester City on the brink of direct qualification for the Champions League.

The Blues captain took his tally to 20, exactly the same as Berbatov, with one game of the season remaining, with Joleon Lescott also finding the net.

It completed a perfect week for City but rubbed salt into the Stoke wounds still gaping after their FA Cup final defeat to the same opponents at Wembley on Saturday.

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More importantly for City manager Roberto Mancini, it leaves his team knowing a win at Bolton on Sunday will secure a straight passage into the group stages of the Champions League.

Tevez opened the scoring when he collected James Milner's pass just inside the box, nimbly stepped past Ryan Shawcross and Andy Wilkinson and cut a superb shot into the far corner.

City added a second when Lescott got in front of Thomas Sorensen as he jumped for Adam Johnson's free-kick and nodded home his second of the season.

Tevez then wrapped up the victory in the 65th minute with a magnificent curling free-kick that flew into the top corner.

Manchester City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Zabaleta, Adam Johnson, Milner, De Jong, Silva, Toure Yaya, Tevez. Subs: Given, Wright-Phillips, Dzeko, Kolarov, Barry, Vieira, Boyata.

Stoke City: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Collins, Wilson, Whitehead, Whelan, Diao, Pugh, Carew, Walters. Subs: Nash, Soares, Jones, Tonge, Delap, Faye, Shotton..