City Held In Comeback Extraordinaire
City Of Manchester Stadium
Sunday 25th October 2009
After Fulham`s previous Eastlands exploits, coming from 2-0 down to win the game, the Citizens should have been more wary of their opponents. Instead, they succumbed to a similar spectacular comeback from the London club to be held 2-2 at the City Of Manchester Stadium.
A thoroughly entertaining encounter saw the first of the goals netted by Joleon Lescott in the second-half, his first for the club. Less than 10 minutes later, Martin Petrov scored another of his trademark goals to put City 2-0 ahead on the hour mark.
Two minutes after the Bulgarian`s celebrations, Damien Duff gave Fulham a lifeline in the 62nd minute, Clint Dempsey completing the comeback in the 68th. It was a manic 10 minutes, and one that the City defence (and fans) will want to forget. Who says lightening doesn't strike twice?
Todays game was somewhat overshadowed by the Anfield clash an hour earlier, however, Manchester City and Fulham was a fixture that always promised to offer plenty of excitement and goals.
The visitors started the game with five key players missing but Roy Hodgeson's changes offered Fulham something fresh and there were no signs of fatigue from their midweek Roma heartbreaker as they matched Mark Hughes' team for energy in the opening stages.
The first real opportunity of the game fell to Carlos Tevez in the 17th minute after Emmanuel Adebayor pulled the ball back for the Argentine to strike from the edge of the box. The tireless striker made poor contact with the ball and scuffed it wide of the post when he really should have done better.
Fulham immediately responded to the threat with Kamara breaking the offside trap, only to give the ball straight to Shay Given, the striker seemingly suprised that the flag stayed down.
The home side settled in and went on to have a few good opportunities courtesy of Kolo Toure and Nigel de Jong, as well as a penalty claim turned down after Emmanuel Adebayor was brought down in the box.
Jonathan Greening almost made City pay the price for not converting their chances after he gave them a fright on the half-hour mark, his shot fizzing just wide of the post, a reminder of the danger posed by the travelling opposition.
The first half was very much back and forwards, the Blues again coming close to scoring in the 33rd minute after Tevez sent his unchallenged header onto the roof of the net following Martin Petrov's corner kick.
Adebayor also came close, missing his effort by a matter of inches before the break, before the home side finally found the back of the net following Micah Richards' header from another well taken corner kick by Petrov.
The right-back headed home, only for the referee to stop play for an apparent push by Barry on Chris Baird - still 0-0.
Half-time: Manchester City 0 Fulham 0
One person who should have found the back of the net was Fulham's Bobby Zamora.
In what can only be discribed as the miss of the season, the in-form frontman was faced with an open goal, only to sky the ball into row Z from six yards out after Clint Dempsey's effort was parried into his path by Given. Certainly one for the next 'Ricky Hatton's Hotshots' DVD!
Joleon Lescott made Zamora pay the price for his miss in the 53rd minute after doing what he couldn't do, score.
Feiry Welshman Craig Bellamy's corner was met by Gareth Barry who knocked the ball to Adebayor, the 6'3 striker's tame effort helped over the line by Lescott.
On the hour mark, City increased their lead courtesy of an excellent strike from the influential Martin Petrov, the game looking like a foregone conclusion.
England international Wayne Bridge played in Petrov from the right hand side, the winger beating his marker and curling a beauty past hapless Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer.
Fulham, just as two years ago, were far from dead and buried, striking back just two minutes after Petrov scored.
Bobby Zamora made up for his comical miss after contributing to the goal, chesting the ball down from Stephen Kelly's cross for Damien Duff to fire home from the edge of the penalty area.
The goal injected some hope into the hearts of the Fulham fans and there was pandamonium in the away stand just six minutes later as the visitors drew level after coming back from a two goal deficit.
In the 67th minute Dempsey completed the miraculous comeback after he fired home to put Roy Hodgeson's side on level terms following Greening's free-kick.
Substitute Shaun Wright-Phillips had a shot saved as City attempted to focus after the extraordinary scenes, but the team fizzled out in the pouring rain and looked a different side to the one which had been playing so well at the beginning of the second half.
Mark Hughes must have been wondering if lightening would indeed strike twice and Fulham could do the impossible and go on to win.
Zamora almost privided the spark, shooting narrowly wide of the post before having another effort saved.
City finished in ascendency as they rallied in the final minutes, Barry having a glorious chance to win it but he sent his header wide.
In one of the hardest games to watch online, ever, fans who couldn't make the game will have to settle for 'match of the day' to catch up with all the action at Eastlands. A truely memorable match, although a disappointing result for the Citizens.
Full time: Manchester City 2 Fulham 2
Goals: Lescott 53` Petrov 60` (Manchester City) Duff 62` Dempsey 68` (Fulham)
Referee: Kevin Friend
Nigel De Jong
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