Date:Saturday August 15 2009
Saturday 15th August 2009,
Manchester City began their top-four assault with an away win, three points and a clean-sheet. Goals from debutant Emmanuel Adebayor and Stephen Ireland gave City the perfect start to the season.
After just three minutes, former Arsenal striker Adebayor found the back of the net to open his scoring account for the season.
City favourite Shaun Wright-Phillips cut inside Warnock on the edge of the box, squaring the ball for Adebayor who blasted past Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson from just inside the area.
Blackburn soaked up a little pressure from City before they settled into the game, often enjoying long periods of possession.
Jason Roberts, Benni McCarthy and Morten Gamst Pedersen were a real handful for a shaky City defense, City's defensive duties made all the more harder by the giant Christopher Samba during set pieces.
Blackburn's first opportunity of the game presented itself to Roberts, who sidefooted over from 12 yards after McCarthy headed the ball into his path.
The dangerous Samba then drew a spectacular one-handed save from Shay Given after directing a Diouf corner goalwards.
Rovers had a shout for a penalty in first-half injury time turned down after referee Mike Dean judged that it was ball to hand rather than hand to ball. A let off for City's under pressure captain, Richard Dunne.
Half-time: Blackburn 0 Manchester City 1
The second-half was a more open affair as both sides looked to break on the counter-attack in the pouring rain.
Blackburn had the lions-share of possession but City were a lot more composed in defense and looked increasingly dangerous on the attack.
Gareth Barry worked extremely hard defensively and his outstanding performance allowed the likes of Bellamy and Wright-Phillips to launch swift box-to-box attacks.
It was the home side who had the best opportunity of the second period. Poor concentration allowed an unmarked Roberts to send a header on goal, the superb Given coming to City's rescue once again with another fine stop.
Mark Hughes' side quickly got their act together and Robinho almost doubled City's lead moments later, only to be denied by a diving save from Robinson to turn the ball round the post.
Carlos Tevez was introduced on the 68th minute to a huge cheer from the away end, the moment that City fans had been waiting patiently to see all summer.
City were now becoming the dominant force as they continued to push forward, Ireland spurning a glorious opportunity after Craig Bellamy's surging run found Adebayor on the edge of the box. The powerful forward put Ireland through on goal but his pass was a little too weak and the move ended in Ireland's left footed effort soaring high into the stands.
Minutes later, Argentine international and 'Welcome to Manchester' poster boy Tevez almost got his name on the score sheet with fellow debutant Adebayor, but Robinson was on hand to keep Blackburn in the game.
With 10 minutes to go, McCarthy fired over a 20-yard free-kick as Blackburn desperately searched for an elusive equaliser.
The game wore on with both sides struggling to contain each other, however, it was City who managed to make the break-through as they put the game to bed.
Stephen Ireland sealed the victory in injury time after a sublime pass by Wright-Phillips put him through on goal.
After almost squandering his opportunity, some excellent solo skill by the creative midfielder saw Robinson beaten as Ireland coolly passed the ball into the back of the net to hand City a deserved result and a vital three points.
It is early days and the team is yet to gel, however, after one game City already sit at the top of the Premier League table. A sign of things to come?
Full-time: Blackburn Rovers 0 Manchester City 2
Goals: Adebayor 3' Ireland 90+2' (Manchester City)
Date:Saturday August 15 2009
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