Courageous City Win Not Enough
City Of Manchester Stadium
Thursday 16th April 2009, 7.45pm
Manchester City beat Hamburg in a breath taking UEFA Cup quarter-final second leg, but the 2-1 win was not enough to send City through.
It was Hamburg who opened the scoring after taking an early lead in the first half, Paolo Guerrero shooting through the legs of Vincent Kompany to beat Shay Given.
A dubious hand-ball decision put City back into the game as Elano equalised from the spot.
After the break Ecuador striker Felipe Caicedo gave City a deserved lead, firing city in front after switching feet and slotting home to send the crowd into a frenzy.
City kept pushing for the third goal but Richard Dunne stupidly picked up a second yellow card and captain calamity was sent off leaving his 10 tiring team mates to struggle for a goal.
Martin Jol's side managed to hold out as City pushed on for a late winner and despite losing the game, went through 4-3 on aggregate.
City started the game at an astonishing pace, chasing the 2-0 win needed to advance. The vivacious crowd cheered on the Blues in rapturous fashion and became even louder after Micah Richards came close to opening the scoring.
Played through by the rejuvenated Elano, Richards stumbled and his effort was easily gathered up by Hamburg keeper Frank Rost.
Manchester City pushed on for a goal but their shaky defence was caught out on the counter-attack and Paolo Guerrero gave City a mountain to climb with a 10th minute goal.
Influential midfielder Jonathan Pitroipa, got himself into space on the right and the defence didn't cut the ball out allowing Guerrero to punish the Blues, firing low through Vincent Kompany and past Given for a 1-0 lead.
The goal meant that City needed three goals to get to extra-time but five minutes after Hamburg went ahead, Elano gave the fans some hope his 15th minute equaliser.
Elano scored from the spot, tucking the ball away into the corner past Roth. Piotr Trochowski was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box although on replay looked rather harsh.
An intense and focused City side came close to taking the lead on the stroke of half-time after the spectacular Elano fired a thunderbolt free-kick against the crossbar.
Half-time: Manchester City 1 Hamburg SV 1
Five minutes into the second-half City reduced the mountain to a hill as they reduced the aggregate score line by another goal, Felipe Caicedo making it 2-1 to send the crowd into fits.
Stephen Ireland passed to the Ecuadorian who made no mistake after cleverly switching the ball onto his left foot and scoring a great goal to fire City into the lead.
The goal gave City belief as Hamburg crumbled under the intensity of the game.
Five minutes after Caicedo scored, the impressive Elano crashed the ball against the post from another well taken free-kick with the rebound going out of play for a corner.
Rost lost the ball and the ball fell to Caicedo who fired over from only a couple of feet out leaving the gaping goal mouth empty and Hamburg off the hook.
The Hamburg keeper made a mense for his previous mistake saving from Robinho's close-range volley after the Brazilian broke through Hamburg's hapless defence.
A couple of minutes later, the repeatedly offside Caicedo put the ball in the net after rounding the keeper only for his effort to be ruled out for offside as City pushed for the vital goal.
Manchester City's monumental struggle was made all the more difficult after Richard Dunne was shown red after two bookable offences.
The referee had no choice but to send the City captain off after numerous warnings and City, who were now dominating the game, slowed up their attacking threat as they struggled to find a winning goal.
Seven minutes from the final whistle, Given kept City in the game after stopping Ivica Olic's close-range shot.
Micah Richards spurned his second opportunity of the game after firing over, City's last clear chance to send the tie into extra-time.
Substitute Daniel Sturridge fired a speculative effort into the side-netting in the dying seconds and Martin Jol's side held on to advance into the semis where Bundesliga rivals Werder Bremen await them.
Full-time: Manchester City 2 Hamburg SV 1
Share Your Thoughts
City dominated the game and Hamburg were overwhelmed by an inspired performance from the battling Blues.
Kompany was a welcome addition to the City midfield and we looked far stronger than in the reverse fixture. Elano was outstanding and his compatriot Robinho was also at the top of his game.
Unfortunately we couldn't force a winner but the fans should be proud of the team effort and the fans in attendance did the club proud.
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