City Battle Past The Baggies
City Of Manchester Stadium
Thursday 19th April 2009, 3pm
Brazilian duo Robinho and Elano helped Manchester City past West Bromwich Albion with goal each to fill the stands with samba.
City raced into a two-goal lead after 20 mins with goals from Robinho and Onuoha, only for West Brom to peg them back with a brace from Chris Brunt. Elano converted a penalty and Daniel Sturridge added a fourth just before the final whistle.
The win saw Mark Hughes' men come through as 4-2 winners with their European ambitions back on track. Meanwhile, Tony Mowbray's side fall deeper into the depths of the relegation zone and their spirited performances are little consolation for going down.
It was a brave effort from a fired up West Brom side, their full throttle approach certainly deserved something out of the game after creating the majority of chances.
Albion came out of the tunnel determined to win and came out guns blazing from the whistle. James Morrison's early curling effort flew past Shay Given's far post signaling the Baggies attacking intentions.
City in typical home fashion were also on the attack and finding space. In the seventh minute Albion keeper Scott Carson had to tip wide a low shot from Robinho but he couldn't stop him from scoring a minute later.
The ever impressive Stephen Ireland crossed a beautifully flighted ball into the box and the mercurial Brazilian volleyed home past Carson to open the scoring, his first Manchester City goal of 2009.
West Brom responded well and could have drawn level minutes later but Abdoulaye Meite failed to convert Jonathan Greening's cross, shooting wide of the near post.
Against the run of play, a controversial goal from Onuoha put City 2-0 up after just 20 minutes.
Elano's corner was headed up in the air by Meite and Onuoha nodded the ball over Carson and into the net. West Brom will feel that it should have been a free kick as it appeared that Carson was blocked off by Felipe Caicedo. The keeper earned himself a yellow card after his strong protest to referee Mike Jones.
West Brom again responded well after the City goal and refused to lay down with Brunt and Fortune failing to put away good opportunities and Felipe Caicedo having to clear Robert Koren's header off the line with the City keeper stranded.
Eventually something had to give and West Brom got the reward for their efforts on 37 minutes when Brunt slotted the ball past Given after being teed up by the powerful Fortune who had held the ball up well.
Half-time: Manchester City 2 West Brom 1
The second half started just as the first, West Brom determined to come away with some points on the board.
After wasting a few great chances to draw level, Brunt sent a curling free-kick round the wall and through a crowd of players to beat Given at the far post and draw the Baggies level on 54 minutes.
Rather than building on their fantastic efforts to peg City back, Albion gifted City a clear penalty only a minute later with some terrible defending which has been the story of their season. It's two steps forward and one step back for the Baggies.
Jonas Olsson's brought Elano down in the box with a foolish lunge, Elano going no-where with the ball. The Brazilian brushed himself off and cooly sent Carson the wrong way, confidently slotting home in the bottom corner to regain the lead for the Blues.
Again West Brom came at City, again they wasted their opportunities. Olsson headed Brunt's corner way over the bar leaving the goal empty and the Baggies empty handed.
Tony Mowbray's side pushed for the equaliser that would give them a deserved point, but with so many men commited forward, City broke through their defense on the counter-attack to put the game to bed.
Petrov broke down the left, playing through Ireland who drew out Carson before crossing to Sturridge who finished calmly to give Mark Hughes' men a comfortable scoreline in injury time.
Full-time: Manchester City 4 West Brom 2
Share Your Thoughts
Supurb performances from various individuals gave this game a great flavour and both teams should be proud of the effort put in.
City gave the ball away far too carelessly but put their opportunities away in spectacular fashion while the Baggies failed to capitalise on their chances.
This was a good response after the Hamburg game and especially the capitulation to Fulham last week.
The win puts City four points away from seventh and our European dreams are not over yet.
It will buy Hughes some more time and if he can get City to battle hard like that away from home then we may find ourselves with some unexpected points. Personally I can't see that we will get any points from the remaining away games but City have some crucial players back and Petrov showed that he is still world class.
Well done City, it was unconvincing at times but it was a vital win and we took our chances, something which has been lacking of late.