Date:Thursday November 6 2008
The City Of Manchester Stadium
06.11.08 / 19:45
Mark Hughes Made four changes to the side that were played off the pitch in an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Bolton. Jo regains his place after recovering from an Illness, and both Garrido and Fernandes are recalled as Ben-Haim and Elano drop to the bench. Elsewhere Vassell returns to the first eleven for the first time since pre-season. It`s nice to see you, to see you…., well this wait and see. Benjani also makes a return to the fold, and is available from the bench. Manchester City are up against Steve Mclaren`s FC Twente, and has described his team as "what you call... underdogsh" With or without the English come Dutch manager Steve Mclaren, FC Twente can defiantly play football, and I predict its not going to be an easy ride.
The Game started nervously for the away side. They were losing the ball too often and where made to pay on just the 2nd minute mark. Gelson Fernandes won the ball back in the midfield, the Irish man then feed the Wright-Phillips, who played a superb one-two with Jo, which found Wright-Phillips clear through on goal, and the little English man fired the ball into the bottom corner. This is the reason I love City, Just Brilliant!
Man City where then going through a comfort zone. They were playing the ball around the pitch easily, but more worryingly without any penetration. You know what comes next don`t you?
Zabaleta found a high tackle unpunished, which led to a lapse in concentration, which provided Twente with their equalizer. The ball from the high-footed tackle went straight through the pairing of Dunne and Richards, and Eljero Elia ran through and impressively struck the ball past the despairing Hart. This is the reason City are performing at the moment. They can comfortable dominate the game, but then let one lapse in concentration punish them. Simply not good enough!
The goal certainly gave FC Twente confidence and they began playing the ball around the pitch with more zing and purpose than City showed in their 15 minutes of Domination at the beginning of the game. FC Twente forced a series of corners, as they looked to take the lead. Richard Dunne was also found guilty of losing the ball on too many occasions within this spell. Simply not good enough skipper!
City then managed to find their feet with around five minutes to go before half-time. Neat work from Jo who managed to find space in the box, poked the ball through the keepers legs, only for his bottom to save the day.
Jo then produced another piece of magic. Wonderful work from Wright-Phillips, produced a good cross which found Jo who facing away from the goal was able to flick his touch on target. In the end it was an easy save, but City where finding their feet.
Half-time: Manchester City 1 FC Twente 1
Much better, much better! The second half started as the first half ended. Robinho slid the ball through to Jo, but he failed to get a real contact on the ball, and ended up poking the ball straight to the keeper. Shaun Wright-Phillips then had the fans shouting goal, only for his effort from just outside the centre of the penalty box to fly agonizingly wide of the right hand post.
However the City fans did not have to wait to shout goal for too long. Four minutes later, a certainly Brazilian produced a piece of magic. The outstanding Robinho cut inside from the left hand side, entered the box, forced the ball onto his right foot, and then curled the ball past the keeper, and into the top corner. That my friends, was a fantastic goal.
City made their first substitute two minutes after the goal. The Impressive Jo came off as the Fans welcomed back Benjani, and he didn`t wait too long before he made his mark. Benjani broke the offside trap, and ran directly at goal. He was given so much space that he had time to get the ball out of his feet and strike the ball at goal. The shot took a massive deflection which wrong footed the opposing keeper and send City 3-1 up. Surely game over?
Oh but that`s not the City way. On the 64th minute, Richard Dunne found himself heading the ball out for a corner when he really should have done better. The Corner followed and Robbie Wielaert ran clear of an out-of-form Dunne, and glide the ball past Hart. Was anyone else thinking what I was thinking? Surely we could not throw this away?
The Last 15 of the game left me on the edge of my seat. Robinho was played through twice from the right hand side of the penalty area, only to identically hit the post both times. The Brazilian was in full flow now. Benjani then produced a shot from outside the box which forced a smart save from Boschker.
Then came the chance that you knew FC Twente would produce. In the final minute Huysegems should have scored. The cross came in from the left hand side, which seemed to go through Richards, and then skip past Dunne before Huysegems blasted the ball over the crossbar from around 8-yards.
City held on, and claimed their first win in the group stage, else where Schalke drew 1-1 with Real Racing Club, as City moved up to second in the group after the first game.
We surely seem to make ourselves work unnecessarily. We could and should have finished Twente of in comfort. Ireland and Robinho were both very impressive. Vassell and Benjani managed to get some more game time under their belts even if Vassell still looked some way off the sharpness required. Richard Dunne still looked shaky and lost the ball too many times. He did however make one crucial intervention in the second half to deny Twente a free header, but not a great performance by the skipper. Garrido and Zabaleta both looked good today and our prodigal son put in his normal shift. Overall there are more positives than negatives, but we`ll still need to tighten up defensively against a resurgent spurs to stand any chance of grabbing some points.
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Date:Thursday November 6 2008
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