Ade Goal Punishes Impotent Pompey
Sunday 30th August 2009, 1.30pm
Manchester City made it three wins out of three while Adebayor made it three goals in three games against a struggling Portsmouth side at Fratton Park.
The Togo international powered a header past Pompeys stand-in keeper after a Gareth Barry corner to give the visitors another win and crucially, another away win which equals the total of City's away wins last season already.
Micah Richards should have killed the game off with his goal but another terrible decision by a linesman cost him his glory. Unfortunately for Richards, he hobbled off in the second-half with what looked like a knee injury to add to his woe.
With Portsmouth's recent takeover completed, Sulaiman Al-Fahim- the man who initially headed ADUG's takeover of City, was at the match to see his newly aquired Pompey side take on the club headed by his United Arab Emirates counterparts, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Khaldoon Al Mubarak respectively.
Manchester City came out onto the pitch wearing their brand new third-kit, keeping Manchester at the hub of fashion for another year. There was just time for a warm handshake between Al-Fahim and Garry Cook before the whistle blew and the match had begun.
It is fair to say that in the opening spell of the game, City struggled to find their rhythm, Portsmouth able to maintain posession for long spells, although never really threatening the opposition back-line.
On loan Lyon man Frederic Piquionne had the first and only real opportunity of the half for the home-side, his shot harmlessly smashing into the side netting.
As the game approached the half-hour mark, City were settling down and looked comfortable in posession. On the 30 minute mark Adebayor broke the deadlock, heading home from a set-piece to cap a wonderful start to the strikers new career.
The impressive Gareth Barry took the credit for the assist, floating in a perfectly weighted ball from the corner flag, Adebayor losing his marker easily to rise above the Pompey defence and power a header past Begovic to give City the lead.
Paul Hart's side responded well to the goal and had a brief spell of posession, unable however to penetrate the opposition back line.
City settled down again and right-back Micah Richards should have doubled the visitors' lead after slotting home a low cross from Welsh international Craig Bellamy.
The goal was ruled out for offside, although replays showed that Richards was a good few yards on-side. On another day, that poor decision by the linesman could have cost us vital points.
The first-half fizzled out to a close, neither side able to create any further opportunities.
Half-time: Portsmouth 0 Manchester City 1
After half-time, Portsmouth managed to get themselves further into the game while Manchester City looked a little drained after their midweek Carling Cup clash.
Adebayor managed to stay lively up-front, his skills causing the south-coast side constant problems throughout the day. The imposing front-man almost carved out a second goal in the 53rd minute, Begovic making a diving save to deny him yet another.
As the game approached the hour mark, Richards went down with an knee injury to cause concern to Hughes. He was replaced by no-nonsence Argentine Pablo Zabaleta, the quality of City's bench undeniably good.
After that, City's rhythm was broken and Paul Hart's side looked to get back into the game as they attempted to break down the visitors. Chances for Hayden Mullins and Younes Kaboul signalled Pompey's intent, but the quality was lacking.
In the 77th minute, Hughes replaced Ireland with De Jong in a bid to combat the home sides increasing dominance.
Kanu had a chance wide of the post and late in the game David Nugent capped of Portsmouth's pityful attack with a shot which really should have hit the back of the net.
Nugent cut inside a City defender to have a clean strike on goal, his effort finding the big frame of Shay Given to deny a point, the Irishman City's saviour once again.
Mark Hughes' side were certainly not at their best against a depleted Pompey side, but they came away with the right result and an away win can never be taken for granted.
Full-time: Portsmouth 0 Manchester City 1
Goals: Adebayor 30' (Manchester City)
Portsmouth: Begovic, Kaboul, Vanden Borre, Belhadj, Mokoena, Mullins, Brown, Kranjcar, Hughes, Piquionne, Smith.
Subs: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Ward, Utaka, Basinas, Nugent, Kanu.
Manchester City: Given, Richards, Bridge, Lescott, Toure, Ireland, Wright-Phillips, Barry, Adebayor, Tevez, Bellamy.
Subs: Taylor, Onuoha, Zabaleta, Petrov, De Jong, Weiss, Robinho.
Referee: Howard Webb
Barry held his own in front of his sides new centre-back partnership of Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott, breaking up Portsmouth attacks with some superb intercepions.
Going forward, the England international was just as effective, his corner kick the assist for Adebayor's winner.