Date:Thursday April 9 2009
HSH Nordbank Arena
Thursday, April 9th, 2009, 7.45pm
Manchester City opened the game is spectacular fashion as Stephen Ireland gave City the lead after just 35 seconds. Hamburg took control after the goal and responded three times to come back from behind and take a two-goal cushion into the return leg at The City Of Manchester Stadium.
City's hope of progression is hanging in the balance as they seek a 2-0 win at Eastlands to turn the tie in their favour. Not even the spectacular Shay Given could keep out the rampant Hamburg, and if it were not for him, City could have found themselves on the end of complete demolition at the Nordbank Arena.
City Made the perfect start, the brilliant Stephen Ireland creating and finishing off the move by picking out Robinho with a fantastic long ball who brought it down, cut inside and layed it off to the oncoming Ireland who had continued his run, sprinting half the pitch to slot it past the keeper.
Hamburg were stunned but almost responded immediately with Shay Given making a point-blank save from Croatian Mladen Petric in the fifth minute. Michael Gravgaard forced another fantastic save from Given three minutes later before they finally managed to beat him.
Hamburg equalised as Joris Mathijsen managed to lose his marker following a corner. Given managed to get a hand to the ball but he could not prevent the defender from scoring. Had he left it, Shaun Wright-Phillips might have perhaps cleared it off the line.
Ater 21 minutes Jonathan Pitroipa almost put Hamburg in the lead with a looping header to come back off the top of the bar before Marcell Jansen struck a powerful volley that Given parried away for a Hamburg corner.
Manchester City were on the back foot although they were still dangerous on the counter-attack. In the 29th minute Craig Bellamy found the suprise addition to the City line-up Daniel Sturridge at the far post but he couldn't keep it down and sent his header over the bar.
A couple of minutes later Richard Dunne got in on the action with a shot blocked following a corner.
City's offensive was short lived and Hamburg were pinning city back in their own half once again.
Just before half time, Given made another great save from Trochowski's shot in the 43rd minute, which he pushed away to safety. Hamburg should have been 4-1 up at least, City had Given to thank for saving their blushes.
Halftime: Hamburg 1 Manchester City 1.
Javier Garrido came on after the break for Wayne Bridge who was struggling with an injury.
Hamburg piled on the pressure, just as they had towards the end of the first half and created another great chance in the 61st minute.
Pitroipa again caused City problems, this time getting on the end of a corner only for Shaun Wright-Phillips to hack the ball off the line with Given beaten.
The home side maintained the momentum and the turning point came when City defender Micah Richards raised his arms to block Mathijsen's shot and Martin Jol's side were awarded a clear penalty by referee Olegario Benquerenca. Piotr Trochowski easily converted it with a powerful shot past Given to give Hamburg a 2-1 lead.
After 79 minutes of play, substitute Jose Guerrero made it 3-1 to Hamburg, shinning the ball in at the back post after being left completely unmarked.
It was the nail in the coffin for City who started brightly but just could not manage to threaten the Hamburg goal throughout a one-sided second half.
Fulltime: Hamburg 3 Manchester City 1.
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Date:Thursday April 9 2009
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