Date:Thursday March 19 2009
Energi Nord Arena
Thursday 19th March 2009
The boys in blue bid to banish their away blues in the second leg of this UEFA Cup clash.
Bookies favourites Manchester City are poised on the edge of the next round and will be hoping that they can secure an early away goal to put this game to bed.
Manchester City boss Mark Hughes said of AaB: 'They have to be positive, because they have to win the game. But I think their natural game is to be a bit cautious and get people behind the ball, then look to break quickly.
'They may have to change from their natural game, and that is to our advantage.
'We have to ensure that if we do get opportunities we take them. If we get an away goal that would make it very difficult for Aalborg.'
Ireland stated of the second leg: 'We`ve done well away from home in the UEFA Cup so I think we`re strong and peaking at the right time of the season... We`re feeling confident going there.'
Aalborg BK`s Thomas Enevoldsen will miss the second-leg after his yellow card for a challenge on City's Shaun Wright-Phillips.
AaB have a few players to watch, most notably Marek Saganowski, Anders Due and Thomas Augustinussen.
My pick of the bunch is Thomas Augustinussen as his height in midfield will be vital for winning balls. Manchester City struggle for height at the best of times and with Kompany potentially out, our midfield lacks physical presence.
Augustinussen is AaB's captain and is renound not only for his ability of winning balls, but also of distributing them with his diverse range of passing and neat through balls.
The captain was one of AaB's best performers at the City Of Manchester Stadium.
Contrary to recent reports that he had travelled with the team to Denmark, Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy did not make the journey and will not play a part in the UEFA Cup clash against Aalborg.
Vincent Kompany will face a late test on his troublesome toe while Nigel de Jong and Valeri Bojinov are ineligible to play.
Last time against AaB I picked man-of-the-match Shaun Wright-Phillips.
I am hoping Robinho can make his mark in an away game but I'm going with Shaun again.
This will be a game with plenty of opportunities to break down the flanks and his pace and ability will no doubt serve us well.
The Energi Nord Arena, also known as Aalborg Stadion, was built in 1960 and renovated in 2002. The stadium has a capacity of 13,800 (7,700 seats).
The club was founded on May 13th 1885 by English engineers who were constructing Jutland's railway system. The first few years of the clubs history were dedicated to cricket under the name 'Aalborg Cricketklub'.
In 1906 the club was renamed 'Aalborg Boldspilklub of 1885' and is also known as Aalborg BK or AaB.
This is Manchester City's third Danish opponent in the UEFA Cup, having previously seen off Midtylland in the early stages and FC Copenhagen in our last European clash.
Aalborg have lost to both of Manchester City's previous opponents this season and sit in 5th position in the Danish league.
City could meet yesterdays qualifiers Werder Bremen and Marseille in the next round.
Up and coming French referee Stéphane Lannoy takes charge of this fixture.
The threat from Aalborg was clear to see at The City Of Manchester Stadium, had they been more clinical then this tie would be in the balance. As it is, City secured two goals and a clean sheet to make this an uncomfortable home game for Aalborg. An away goal will mean that AaB will need to put four past Shay Given. With City doing so well on the counter-attack I feel that it will suit our style of play and I think we can expect goals. AaB 1-2 MCFC
Home to Sunderland on Sunday 22nd March 2009.
Date:Thursday March 19 2009
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