Super Mario's Debut Goal Enough For Blues
Stadionul Dan Păltinişanu
Manchester City ensured that they headed their Europa League tie against Polytechnic Timisoara with a first leg victory deep into the Romanian Night. An encouraging debut from Mario Ballotelli- which resulted in a debut goal- eased The Blues to a comfortable European victory.
Although FC Timisoara might not be the glamour tie of City`s European adventure a professional and hard-working performance was needed to beat the competitions minnows.
The City side featured 8 starters from the weekends draw against Spurs signalling Mancini`s intent. It was a difficult encounter though for his side, with the home team looking desperate to cause an upset or provide a performance that would result in greater recognition for the club. They battled and harassed a laboured City who looked determined to remain resolute.
Early on the intent and pressure was with the minnows but chances very rarely fell to them and after Joe Hart`s magnificent display at the weekend it would have taken something special to beat him. The goal mouth opportunities were always looking few and far between, and for City, it was more a performance involving possession possibly allowing their team work to grow as the games become more intense.
City`s new signings might have faced criticism for their performance at the weekend, but it was the midfield enforcer Yaya Toure who had the greatest impact on an otherwise dull evening. His strength and composure served him well as he strode elegantly through the heart of the Timisoara midfield but his pressure couldn`t pay off.
Toure`s involvement as well as his team-mates became ever more present in the second half as the home side tired. After a lethargic introduction to the match, City now looked much more cohesive and their attacking play was causing some serious concerns in the opposition box. When the debut boy Ballotelli was brought on the game again swung in the favour of City. Their quick interchange was difficult to control and the chances were falling but failing at the same time. After Toure looked certain to score, the tall midfielder struck the post with a rifled shot. However, it wasn`t long till City did take the lead. Constant pressure paid off and after Adebayor was slid through, his cross come shot fell into the path of Ballotelli, 6 yards from goal the striker made no mistake.
It was only City`s profligacy that meant the score stayed at 1-0. Chances for Ballotelli, Adebayor and Jo could have tipped the balance more in City`s favour, but 1-0 was a happy return for a potential slip-up.