City Fall At First Hurdle
Some might suggest managing a professional football side is one of the most luxurious jobs you could posses. However, after nights like tonight, Blues boss, Roberto Mancini, witnessed his side slip up against West Brom and lose sight of their first trophy.
Mancini rested all 11 players who last weekend defeated Wigan. This signal of intent from Mancini suggested his thoughts were elsewhere. With the upcoming clash against Chelsea and the harshness of the fixture list, the City boss opted for the Carling Cup when choosing to rest players. Manchester City`s disappointment tonight can easily be resolved with a League victory over Chelsea, but with the increasing expectations and longing for a trophy around Eastland`s patience will be wearing out.
Although Brazilian Striker Jo netted for a depleted Blues squad it was their first defeat after taking the lead- adding greater displeasure to the unconvincing performance and substandard performance. Before West Brom mounted a match winning fight back, City was far from clinical. The vibrant nature and encouraging potential in the EDS has brought glowing reports around Eastland`s but their inexperience and lack of playing time at this standard all added for a rather monotonous display.
City began the encounter brightly and the exuberance of the youthful side looked determined to repay the faith Mancini showed them. Jo and Guidetti were linking up with ease and delight. After a darting run from the Brazilian his cross evaded the onrushing Guidetti, it was just a brief sign of things to come. The two aforementioned players again proved a handful for the Baggies defence and after a smart flick from Guidetti, Jo took the ball in his stride and with a swing of the right foot, arrowed his shot below the despairing dive of Myhill.
After the heartening early encounters City began to fade and the onslaught from The Albion`s attack proved too difficult a challenge for the youngsters. The wide men for West Brom were creating confusion and despite the hatful of chances on show the score remained. One man who City had to thank in the early exchanges was the out of favour Shay Given. After fighting desperately to regain his place as no1, Given had his wish-in less demanding circumstances to what he may have hoped. The Irish stopped produced a string of splendid saves and kept City in the tie.
Nevertheless, Given`s best efforts couldn`t deny an unstoppable fight back from a resurgent home side. Two goals in the space of three minutes turned the tie on its head and City were facing elimination at only their first hurdle.
City felt aggrieved that the first goal was allowed to stand after a coming together of bodies allowed Zuiverloon to lash home an unstoppable drive. Still feeling a slight unfortunate to concede, City were again the masters of their own downfall. After Cox wriggled free from City`s backline, the striker punished the Blues with his comfortable finish ending City`s chances.
Even when a late chance fell for Milner, City failed to salvage anything from a game they will look back on with dismay.