City stumble as Suarez gets dream debut
Manchester City lost ground to local rivals Manchester United in the English Premier League title race after twice giving up the lead in a 2-2 draw away to Birmingham on Tuesday.
A share of the spoils at St Andrew's left Roberto Mancini's men eight points behind leaders United, having played a game more than the table-toppers. Carlos Tevez gave Manchester City a fourth-minute lead with a neat, clipped finish following a pass from David Silva. But Birmingham were level 19 minutes later when Serbia striker Nikola Zigic scored from close range after getting on the end of David Bentley's free-kick.
City suffered a setback when defender Micah Richards, who first needed several minutes of on-field treatment, was carried off on a stretcher following a head injury. However, they subsequently regained the lead when, four minutes before half-time, Aleksandar Kolarov curled a 25-yard free-kick around the wall for a fine goal.
But City failed to press home their advantage and were punished when, following Patrick Vieira's clumsy challenge on Kevin Phillips, the hosts equalised through Craig Gardner's penalty 13 minutes from time to the delight of the St Andrew's faithful.
Suarez gets lucky
Elsewhere, new Liverpool striker Luis Suarez marked his debut off the bench with the Reds' second goal in a 2-0 win over Stoke that saw the Merseysiders continue their resurgence under Kenny Dalglish.
Liverpool went ahead two minutes into the second period at Anfield when Raul Meireles crashed the ball in from 12 yards after Stoke had failed to clear a Steven Gerrard shot. Suarez, a £22.6million signing from Ajax on transfer deadline day and wearing the No7 shirt worn with such distinction by Dalglish, came on for Fabio Aurelio shortly after the hour mark.
And in the 79th minute he sealed Liverpool's third straight clean sheet win under Dalglish when he rounded the keeper and rolled the ball in despite a despairing attempt by Andy Wilkinson, who deflected the strike into his own net, to hack clear.
"We're all delighted with that result - and three clean sheets in a row is a great return," Dalglish said. "Everyone's pleased for Luis too. He hasn't even trained with us yet but he showed what he's all about tonight and I can't wait to get working with him."
Relief for Hammers
West Ham climbed off the bottom of the table with a 3-1 win away to Blackpool. Victor Obinna gave the Hammers a 24th minute lead at Bloomfield Road when Blackpool goalkeeper Richard Kingson allowed a near-post shot from the Nigeria striker to squirm through his grasp. And the London club doubled their lead when Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane, signed from Tottenham on transfer deadline day, scored on his debut to grab his first league goal since November 2009 when he followed up after two blocks from Obinna shots.
Blackpool playmaker Charlie Adam, who saw possible deadline-day moves to both Spurs and Liverpool fall through, pulled one back when he beat Hammers keeper Robert Green direct from a corner. But barely two minutes later the visitors were 3-1 up when Obinna let fly with a superb 30-yard shot.
Tottenham maintained their pursuit of a UEFA Champions League place with a 1-0 win away to Blackburn Rovers that saw them close to within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea England striker Peter Crouch scored the only goal of the game in the third minute when he rose above Chris Samba to head in a Rafael van der Vaart cross at the back post.
Life for Newcastle without Andy Carroll following the striker's £35million departure to Liverpool started with a 1-0 loss away to Fulham. Damien Duff's 67th minute goal decided the match and defeat for Newcastle was compounded by an injury to striker Shola Ameobi, who lasted just 13 minutes at Craven Cottage before going off with a suspected fractured cheekbone.
New Bolton loan signing Daniel Sturridge struck in stoppage time to seal a 1-0 win over Wolves that dropped Mick McCarthy's men to the foot of the Premier League table.