Tevez goal gives Manchester City hope as Villa's struggles continue
March 5, 2013 -- Updated 1256 GMT (2056 HKT)
Carlos Tevez celebrates his winning goal in Manchester City's 1-0 win over Aston Villa in the EPL.
- Manchester City win 1-0 at Aston Villa in English Premier League
- Victory cuts the gap on leaders Manchester United to 12 points
- Carlos Tevez scores only goal of the match in first half
- Alvaro Negredo scores hat-trick in Sevilla's win in La Liga
(CNN) -- Jose Mourinho may believe the English Premier League title race is already over but reigning champions Manchester City kept alive their slim hopes of retaining the crown with Monday's 1-0 win at Aston Villa.
The victory cut the gap on arch rivals and championship leaders Manchester United to 12 points with 10 matches of the EPL season remaining, including a return clash between the top two at the beginning of April.
It was a disciplined display from Roberto Mancini's men, who owed their victory to a neatly-taken goal by Argentina international Carlos Tevez just before halftime.
Defeat left Villa deep in relegation trouble in 18th place with just 24 points in the bag.
I think it is very important to win this game. For us it was important to stay 12 points behind, the championship is not over
While Mourinho's Real Madrid team were training at City's Etihad Stadium ahead of their Champions League clash with Manchester United, their temporary landlords were making their way to the testing fixture at Villa Park, knowing dropped points would end all hopes in the title race.
An even first half offered Paul Lambert's strugglers hope they could at least get something from the match and striker Christian Benteke was a threat throughout with his muscular presence.
At the other end Pablo Zabaleta rattled the Villa woodwork, but a defensive mistake just before the interval was to cost the home side dear.
Defender Ciaran Clark was robbed by substitute Edin Dzeko -- on after England midfielder Jack Rodwell went off with a hamstring problem -- and the Bosnian played in Tevez.
He cleverly dummied goalkeeper Brad Guzan and slotted the ball home.
Mancini is right man for Man City
After the break there was almost a repeat as this time Mathew Lowton was caught napping by Dzeko but the defender got back to clear Tevez's shot off the line.
Read: Derby win puts Tottenham third in EPL
Benteke continued to be a nuisance to the end, but City defended stoutly to move five points clear of third-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who had closed to within two after Sunday's derby win over Arsenal.
Mancini was delighted with his team's efforts. "I think it is very important to win this game. For us it was important to stay 12 points behind, the championship is not over," he told Sky Sports.
And he had a word of consolation for Villa. "I think they will stay in the Premier League," he predicted.
Meanwhile, in Monday's Spanish La Liga action, Sevilla won 4-1 at home to third-bottom Celta Vigo to move up to 10th place.
Striker Alvaro Negredo scored a fine hat-trick to take his tally to 13 in the league this season.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.