London: Manchester City returned to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday with a 3-0 home victory over West Bromwich Albion but the game was marred after the visitors had the wrong player sent off after only two minutes.
City striker Wilfried Bony was brought down when through on goal by Craig Dawson and referee Neil Swarbrick blew for a foul but incorrectly dismissed Gareth McAuley for the offence.
Bony, Fernando and David Silva netted the goals for City, who produced a dominant performance with an extra man for almost the entire match. Manuel Pellegrini's side, which exited the Champions League midweek at the hands of Barcelona and lost its previous Premier League match to struggling Burnley, is now three points behind league leader Chelsea, which has two games in hand and plays Hull on Sunday.
Swarbrick's error is the third major blunder by a referee in the Premier League in a year.
Last month, Roger East mistakenly sent off Wes Brown instead of his Sunderland teammate John O'Shea for bringing down Radamel Falcao of Manchester United in the penalty area.
And in March 2014, Andre Marriner showed Kieran Gibbs of Arsenal a red card for handling on the goal line against Chelsea, when it was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who committed the foul.
The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd, the organization responsible for refereeing appointments, confirmed that Swarbrick had apologized for his mistake in a statement after the match.
"In the second minute of Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion, referee Neil Swarbrick made a decision to send off Gareth McAuley for a 'denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity' offence," the statement said. "The referee has confirmed the offence was caused by a different player, which should be addressed now as a case of mistaken identity. The referee has apologized for his error."
West Brom manager Tony Pulis recommended a greater use of technology to assist referees in games.
"Refereeing is not easy, especially at the level we are at now and how quick the game is," Pulis said. "I would definitely call now for managers to have two calls each and every game, where there are 30 seconds and they can have a video link-up with people upstairs who can watch it on video.
"It will eradicate the major decisions referees are getting wrong that actually affect games of football. We have to work hard to do that in what is the greatest league in the world. The sooner that comes in, the better."
Elsewhere, two first-half strikes from Olivier Giroud handed Arsenal a hard fought 2-1 win at Newcastle. Arsene Wenger's side held off a spirited second half display from Newcastle, who pulled a goal back in the 48th minute through Moussa Sissoko.
Arsenal's victory keeps it a point behind second-place City and four behind Chelsea.
Harry Kane marked his first call-up to the England international team with his first Premier League hat trick as Tottenham beat bottom-side Leicester 4-3 at White Hart Lane.
Kane's treble means he is the Premier League's top scorer so far with 19 goals, one more than Diego Costa, who can increase his tally when Chelsea visits Hull.
Southampton beat Burnley 2-0 at St. Mary's to maintain its push for European football next season. Shane Long scored in the first half before Jason Shackell's own goal secured Southampton's three points.
Southampton stays sixth, above Tottenham on goal difference with both sides on 53 points. They are only three points behind Manchester United in fourth and Louis van Gaal's side faces top four rival Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday. Liverpool is currently fifth on 54.
Crystal Palace came from behind to win 2-1 at Stoke while Bafetimbi Gomis scored in the 87th minute to give Swansea a 1-0 win at Aston Villa.
Dick Advocaat's first game as Sunderland manager ended in a 1-0 defeat against West Ham in Saturday's late game. Diafra Sakho drilled home in the 88th minute at Upton Park.
Sunderland remains only a point above the relegation zone on 26 points. Burnley is 18th on 25 and Villa 16th with 28.