A Carlos Tevez-inspired Manchester City have moved into the top four in the Premiership after an accomplished win over Blackburn Rovers at the City of Manchester Stadium tonight.
An early strike from the Argentine striker set City on their way,and he bagged his second with less than five minutes gone in the second half, curling in an effort from the edge of the penalty area.
Defender Micah Richards added a stunning second in between, racing 80 yards to feed striker Benjani who struck a post but the England international was on hand to fire home the rebound.
Tevez rounded off a scintillating performance with an outstanding third goal as he coolly placed a shot past Paul Robinson to claim his first hattrick in the blue of City.
Striker Benjani was the architect of the first three goals in his first league outing of the season, and certainly justified his selection.
Blackburn struggled with the pace of City throughout, and it was all too easy to see why they have won just once on the road so far this season.
Their one moment of quality arrived after 70 minutes when Morten Gamst Pedersen pounced on a heavy first touch from Vincent Kompany to beat Shay Given with a neat finish.
Rovers lost Benni McCarthy to injury in the warm up and struggled up front, though they should have scored after an hour when midfielder Steven N’Zonzi headed wide from a free kick.
Allardyce tried to change things up with a double substitution at the interval and his side improved in the second period.
Richards and Vincent Kompany looked solid at the heart of the home side’s defence in the absence of Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott, while Javier Garrido continues to justify Roberto Mancini’s faith in him.
Nigel De Jong must be aware that his place is under threat following the arrival of Patrick Vieira kept David Dunn, Rovers’ one genuine creative influence, quiet throughout.
The home side could have scored more, and substitute Robinho thought he had when he turned in a Tevez cross, but the linesman had flagged for offside.
City now move into the Champions League places, only six points behind rivals Manchester United with a game in hand.