Manchester City pushed West Bromwich Albion to the brink of relegation with a 4-2 win at Eastlands. Mark Hughes' side stormed into a two-goal lead through Robinho and Nedum Onuoha's first half strikes, but Chris Brunt scored either side of the interval to haul Albion level.
City hit straight back through Elano's penalty and Daniel Sturridge sealed the points in stoppage time to leave Tony Mowbray's team nine points from safety with only 15 points up for grabs in their last five matches. Albion are destined for a quick return to the Championship a year after winning promotion, while City remain an entertaining, if inconsistent, mid-table outfit under Hughes.
West Brom had the first sight of goal when Marc-Antonie Fortune saw his effort go narrowly wide of the post. That was quickly followed by a shot that James Morrison tried unsuccessfully to curl beyond Shay Given. But City's response was emphatic.
Robinho went close in the seventh minute before making the breakthrough a minute later. Stephen Ireland picked out Robinho and the Brazilian drove a sweet volley beyond Scott Carson for his first goal in 12 league games. City's defensive weaknesses kept Albion in the match and Jonas Olsson and Abdoulaye Meite squandered good chances in quick succession.
Just as the visitors were threatening an equaliser, City scored again in the 21st minute. Elano swung in a corner from the right and, when Meite only succeeded in heading the ball up in the air, Onuoha nodded in his first goal of the season.
Albion defender Paul Robinson went close with a header that was cleared off the line by Felipe Caicedo. The visitors continued to press and scored in the 37th minute with a crisp finish from Brunt after he was set up by Fortune. Albion were zipping the ball around with confidence now and they equalised in the 54th minute.
Brunt curled in a free-kick that bounced once, deceiving the City defence and then Given before floating into the net. That should have been the signal for Albion to kick on, but Mowbray's side have a notoriously soft centre.
So it proved again as City regained the lead two minutes later when Elano was brought down by Olsson in the penalty area. The Brazilian dusted himself down and dispatched the spot-kick past Carson.
Olsson headed over the bar from Brunt's corner as Albion hit back, but it took two smart saves from Carson to deny Sturridge and then Elano. West Brom poured forward in search of an equalizer, but they were caught on the break in the 90th minute. Ireland's pass sent Sturridge away and the youngster finished coolly to confirm the win.