The Newcastle midfielder looked to have added to his memorable collection and, had he been allowed to do so, it would have resulted in a lot less hassle for everyone concerned.
Tiote’s super first-time finish, which found the corner of the net past a rooted Joe Hart, came after a Yohan Cabaye corner just after the half-hour fell invitingly for the Ivorian 25 yards from goal.
It should have been a contender for goal of the season, instead sparked the mother of all controversies.
As Tiote jumped into the arms of John Carver, the Newcastle assistant manager, to celebrate on the sidelines, Manchester City’s players turned their attention to Stephen Child, the assistant referee, to rightly point out that three Newcastle players had been in an offside position as the ball raked the inside of the net.
Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson were adjacent, Yoan Gouffran, who was coming out of the six-yard box, had to evade the path of the shot on its way in.
If that’s not interfering with play, then it’s difficult to define what is.
After Mike Jones consulted Child, the officials agreed the effort should be chalked off, their conclusion, utterly was correct. Much of the
sympathy with Tiote appeared to lie in the fact that such a stunning strike hadn’t been allowed to stand, Gary Lineker among those guilty of such a myopic view with a post on Twitter, but the aesthetic value of the goal mattered not.
That a single incident would prove so pivotal looked unlikely when City took an eighth-minute lead as they threatened to steamroller opponents they have now beaten 10 times in succession, albeit at the cost of injuries to goalscorer Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri, the latter with suspected knee ligament damage after an awful challenge from Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa which earned only a caution.
The opening goal arrived as David Silva evaded the attentions of Vurnon Anita with an effortless turn near halfway to send Aleksandar Kolarov free down the left. The defender didn’t have to break stride to take the pass, before delivering an inviting low cross which was met by Dzeko at the near post, the forward registering a 15th goal this term with a sweet first-time finish that gave Tim Krul little chance.
City’s 93rd goal of the campaign surpassed their output for the whole of last season.
They ought to have added to that tally before the break, Alvaro Negredo narrowly failing to reach another low Kolarov centre with the goal gaping, before the prolific City forward headed onto the roof of the net after Silva and Nasri worked space for the former to cross.
Newcastle replied as Cabaye forced Hart into a fine fingertip save with a stinging half-volley after reacting first to a cross from Yanga-Mbiwa 12 minutes before the break. From the resulting corner, all hell broke loose when Tiote’s celebrations quickly turned to frustration — and swiftly to recrimination.
The managers exchanged barbs from the safety of their adjacent technical areas, the disagreements spilling over in the wake of the half-time whistle, as the players’ tunnel became a place to settle scores away from prying eyes or cameras where, in the process, derogatory comments were aimed at Manuel Pellegrini over his age.
Cabaye twice went close to an equaliser from long range as the second half wore on, forcing Hart into a fine save low to his right, before sending a subsequent effort narrowly over.
The City keeper also saved well with his feet to deny Loic Remy. However, Newcastle’s sense of injustice seemed to dissipate as fatigue took hold and their attacking verge slackened.
Substitute Jesus Navas almost doubled the advantage in the final five minutes with a header that beat Krul but bounced back off the bar.
Taylor cleared off the line from Negredo to ensure the result remained in doubt until the fifth of seven minutes of stoppage time, when Negredo scored City’s second goal. It arrived after a fine Kolarov block to deny Hatem Ben Arfa, substitute James Milner orchestrating a swift counter-attack.
Negredo was put through to see his first shot blocked by Tim Krul, only for the bounce to favour the City for the forward to register his 19th goal of the season to leave his side unbeaten in 16 games, the 14th victory of that impressive run taking them back to the summit of the Premier League.
NEWCASTLE: (4-4-1-1) Krul 7; Yanga-Mbiwa 4 (Haidara 82, 5), Williamson 7, Taylor 7, Santon 6; Sissoko 6, Tiote 7, Anita 6 (Cisse 73, 5), Gouffran 6 (Ben Arfa 82, 5); Cabaye 7; Remy 6.
MANCHESTER CITY: (4-2-1-3) Hart 8; Zabaleta 8, Kompany 8, Demichelis 7, Kolarov 8; Fernandinho 7, Yaya Toure 8 (Garcia 61, 6); Silva 8; Nasri 6 (Milner 79, 7), Negredo 8, Dzeko 7 (Navas 52, 7).