Date:Sunday January 31 2010
Barclays Premier League
City of Manchester Stadium
31 January 2010
Given, Zabaleta, Toure, Kompany, Garrido, De Jong, Ireland, Barry, Petrov, Tevez, Adebayor.
Subs: Taylor, Onuoha, Wright-Phillips, Sylvinho, Bellamy, Boyata, Ibrahim.
James, Vanden Borre, Ben-Haim, Wilson, Hreidarsson, Mullins, Basinas, Jamie O'Hara, Webber, Utaka, Boateng.
Subs: Ashdown, Piquionne, Finnan, Hughes, Owusu-Abeyie, Ritchie, Sowah.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)
City started this game against a beleaguered Pompey believing that they could repeat the six nil scoreline of last year.
After a bright start though there was only one team hungry enough to impose themselves on the opposition and that wasn't the one looking to challenge for a Champions League place.
Portsmouth were hungrier, more organised and more composed for much of the first half creating most of the chances and unlucky not to go ahead when the sunlight made Given misjudge a cross from the right but Utaka couldn't convert.
The longer the match went on the more frustrated the Sky Blues got after Pompey had hit the post and it got worse when Zabaleta, one of the more determined City players on the pitch, was withdrawn due to a broken nose after a stray arm from Boetang.
Just when doubts were beginning to creep into the thoughts of both players and fans alike, Adebayor marginally beat the offside trap to control and smash the ball past the diving David James.
Then to compound Portsmouth's brave but seemingly futile attempts, Vincent Kompany after several tries, finally converted a corner with a thunderous header.
City didn't deserve it, but were two nil up and Portsmouth had everything to do in the second half.
The second half was again not the tonic that the emotionally tired fans and players needed as Pompey set about City with incisive passing and non-stop movement.
Again O'Hara, Boetang and Basinas were controlling the run of play and City were as incohesive as they had been for a long time.
But Portsmouth need more than their midfield brawn and raw pace of Utaka to survive this season as their five goals away from home strongly highlight the fact they need a goalscorer.
With twenty minutes to go City brought on the rested Bellamy and the dynamics of the game changed with him terrorising Van Der Borre at left back and City hitting the post through Tevez in the last few minutes.
Two nil was bad enough, so three would have been a travesty after the effort the Portsmouth players had put in.
Maybe we can loan them Benjani back if nobody comes in for him. Either way I hope they stay up as their fans are top notch and we always seem to do well against them!
For City it was a flat abject performance that Mancini knows could have gone another way, but a win is a win and we can now look forward to gaining six points against Hull and Bolton.
Date:Sunday January 31 2010
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