MANCHESTER: A Nicolas Anelka hat-trick, including two penalties, helped Manchester City come from behind to beat Aston Villa 4-1 at the City of Manchester Stadium here yesterday.
It was City's first league win at their new ground after leaving Maine Road at the end of last season and was achieved after they went 1-0 down.
Villa were ahead through Juan Pablo Angel's 31st minute goal before a 48th minute penalty from France striker Anelka put the hosts level.
And in the 50th minute City were 2-1 up through Michael Tarnat with Anelka scoring his second penalty 18 minutes later before netting his third seven minutes from full-time.
The result put City into third place, ahead of Chelsea on goal difference.
England winger Steve McManaman made his City debut after signing from Real Madrid, his first Premiership match in four years.
City manager Kevin Keegan also sprung a surprise by giving Costa Rican forward Paulo Wanchope his first start in nearly two years after a variety of injury problems.
In the first half City enjoyed early pressure they were undone by a sucker punch when Lee Hendries cross was headed in by Colombia forward Angel who looked to be in an offside position. But the goal stood.
After the break, City were a revitalised team with McManaman showing some of his old trickery as he advanced into the box only for the ball to bobble up and strike Villa's Mark Delaney on the hand.
Referee Mark Halsey ruled it was deliberate handball and Anelka fired home the penalty.
Before Villa could catch their breath they were behind. Wanchope was brought down in City's next attack and from the free-kick Tarnat beat Villa keeper Thomas Sorensen.
Then, in the 68th minute, City were 3-1 up when China's Sun Jihai was brought down in the box by Peter Whittingham.
Anelka completed his hat-trick in the 83rd minute. AFP