BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Sublime first-half goals from Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva helped Manchester City to a 2-1 win at Aston Villa in a pulsating Premier League clash on Wednesday with the home side pulling one back through Ollie Watkins.
The result left City second in the standings on 32 points from 14 games, one behind leaders Chelsea, while Villa stayed 13th on 16 points after their first defeat under new manager Steven Gerrard following two successive wins.
City dominated the opening half and took a 27th-minute lead through Dias, when the Portugal centre back beat goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez with a first-time shot from 20 metres after Raheem Sterling's cutback flashed across the penalty area.
Silva doubled their advantage with a breathtaking effort in the 43rd, volleying superbly past Martinez from 15 metres after City broke away from their own penalty area with Riyad Mahrez releasing Gabriel Jesus on the right flank.
Villa sprung back to life shortly after the break as Watkins found space in a crowded penalty area to drive in a half-volley inside the near post from 10 metres after he met a low Douglas Luiz corner.
The home side missed a gilt-edged chance to salvage a draw in the 75th minute when City keeper Ederson parried a sitter from substitute Carney Chukwuemeka and the visitors held on in the closing stages.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis)