September 2011 - Reports
Return to Main Page           Home Page

QUICK NAVIGATION           Print

Bayern Munich 2 Manchester City 0    Europäische Absturz
Tuesday 27th Sept 2011: Horst Vietor for GYKO at the Allianz Arena

Manchester City's big night in the Champions League ended with failure on the pitch and problems off it for manager Roberto Mancini as Bayern Munich maintained their remarkable record over English teams.

Although City looked capable of becoming only the second team to beat the German giants on their own ground in European combat for half an hour, two Mario Gomez goals in eight minutes before the break turned the tie on its head.

Then, when Mancini introduced Nigel de Jong for Edin Dzeko 10 minutes after the restart in an attempt to stem the flow of Bayern attacks, the Bosnian seemed to exchange words with his manager.

This then drew Carlos Tevez into a row, with some reports suggesting that the Argentina star, left stewing on the bench on Saturday, had refused to warm up, which then led to an exchange between the striker and fellow countryman Pablo Zabaleta. Yet what Mancini had done worked.

De Jong's presence denied Bayern the room that they had been exploiting so effortlessly. This was supposed to be the final frontier for City. Instead, they discovered just how steep the learning curve is to make the transition from Champions League qualifiers to actual contenders. They were unfortunate that Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai did not spot either of the two decent penalty claims City had before Gomez struck. Former City defender Jerome Boateng was the guilty man on both occasions, the first of which at least looked pretty clear. David Silva contributed to the problem by admirably trying to play on when he got clipped close to the by-line.

If the Spain midfielder had been more theatrical, he might have gained a spot-kick. Instead he tried to play Samir Nasri in and City got nothing. Boateng also barged Micah Richards over but this would have been more debatable, even if Yaya Toure made his displeasure known to the official.

However, with Silva and Nasri scheming and Dzeko looking a threat, City were the better side for half an hour, when it appeared they might emulate Norwich, who remain the only English team to beat Bayern on their own ground in 16 attempts.

Once Franck Ribery got into his stride, City were in trouble. The French winger has destroyed plenty of teams down the years and now it was the turn of Mancini's men to feel the heat. Ribery sped past Gareth Barry before setting up Thomas Muller, but his effort flew over. Muller then turned provider as City tried to play a woeful offside. Again they escaped as Bastian Schweinsteiger failed to find his range.

The Blues were in trouble though and it was no surprise Bayern scored on their next attack.

No surprise either Ribery was the architect, lashing another fierce shot goalwards that City goalkeeper Joe Hart could not hold. Somehow, Hart prevented Muller tucking home the rebound. But he could not stop Gomez making it third-time lucky as he finished from close range.

Sergio Aguero was booked for a foul on Schweinsteiger as City tried to steady the ship.

But worse was to come in stoppage time when Toni Kroos fizzed over a free-kick that Daniel van Buyten flicked goalwards. Again, Hart saved. Again, Bayern had another option as Gomez tucked home his second.

City nearly conceded a third when Muller just failed to turn home Philipp Lahm's near-post cross.

Discontent was raging on the sidelines though and Gael Clichy was booked as City's bad night got worse.

Kolo Toure was also booked as he gave away a free-kick which would have led to a third Bayern goal if Hart had not superbly turned Gomez's header away.

Arjen Robben replaced Ribery, his work done, in the final minute, before substitute Aleksandar Kolarov rolled the last chance wide for City in stoppage time.

Teams:

Bayern Munich Neuer, Rafinha, Van Buyten, Boateng, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Gustavo, Muller, Kroos (Tymoschuk 82), Ribery (Robben 90), Gomez (Petersen 90).

Subs Not Used: Butt, Usami, Contento, Alaba.

Goals: Gomez 38, 45.

Man City Hart, Richards, Kompany, Toure, Clichy, Nasri (Milner 69), Barry (Kolarov 73), Toure Yaya, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko (De Jong 55).

Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Lescott, Tevez.

Booked: Aguero, Clichy, Toure Yaya, Toure.

Att: 65, 000

Ref: Viktor Kassai (Hungary).
 

Manchester City 2 Everton 0   Toffees Chewed Up
Saturday 24th September 2011 : GYKO at the Etihad Stadium

For once Mario Balotelli made the right choice as he celebrated a watershed moment for Manchester City and potentially his own career with the manager who has indulged him more than any other. One Italian embraced another on the touchline, the Everton resistance was broken and Roberto Mancini seized the moment to whisper in the goalscorer's ear. "I told him to stay wide, then get inside the box when we attack and work for the team" – hardly a Mills and Boon moment but at least the £24m striker is listening.

It would be premature to claim the penny has dropped for Balotelli on the basis of one well-struck, highly significant but ultimately deflected goal. All that can be said with certainty is that the time has arrived for the 21-year-old to repay Mancini's consistent and often tested faith. On Saturday that process commenced.

The City manager displayed telling confidence in the Italy international an hour into the ordeal of breaking David Moyes's tactic of parking an entire bus depot here. City required fresh inspiration in attack plus someone to drag Everton to the channels. Mancini summoned Balotelli and left Carlos Tevez, the finest striker in the Premier League last season, stewing on the bench, alone with his thoughts and with no one to blame for his demotion in the striking order beyond himself. Balotelli – "he loves Manchester City and English football," his manager pointedly remarked – duly played the instrumental role in Mancini's first victory over Everton, sweeping Sergio Agüero's back-heel into the corner of Tim Howard's goal via the chest of Phil Jagielka and working tirelessly for the greater good.

"Usually when he scores he is unhappy," said Mancini, illustrating the paradox perfectly. "For Mario it is normal but in a game like this I think he knew he scored an important goal for us. That's just him. But inside I think he's happy always. I think he wants to show supporters it's normal for him to score."

His work rate and willingness to follow Mancini's instructions were not the only signs of maturity that City have witnessed in Balotelli of late, according to James Milner, who said the striker's failure to start a Premier League game this term has not provoked any problems within.

Milner, the second City substitute to beat Howard when he converted David Silva's glorious pass in the final minute, his first league goal for the club, said: "I don't think anyone is happy when they are not in the team. That is what you want. Mario hasn't shown it. He trains hard every day and goes about his business like everyone else does. He has not stepped out of line or shown his disappointment in any way."

Asked whether the perception of Balotelli as a gifted but eccentric individual is fair, Milner replied: "That is pretty accurate. He is a top-quality player. You forget how young he is. He has done a lot in the game already. You can see his quality every time he comes on. He only needed half a chance and he took it. He is a massive part of this squad."

But no player currently matches the importance to City of Silva. Moyes interrupted his stride out of the stadium to shake the hand of the Spanish midfielder and offered a genuine "well played". The Everton manager had already paid Silva the compliment of detailing the impressive Jack Rodwell to man-mark "City's biggest part", as Moyes described him, and his concerns proved justified. Two minutes after Balotelli's breakthrough Rodwell asked his manager whether he should abandon his duties and support Everton's belated efforts to attack. He was told to stay. Rodwell looked to the bench again in the closing minutes and was instructed to advance. Seconds later Silva intercepted Royston Drenthe's careless pass, spun away from three blue shirts and threaded Milner through for City's second.

"He did not leave me alone," said Silva. "It's strange to mark like that in the Premier League. It was a new experience for me. That has never happened to me before. I don't know if it is a compliment or not but I know I was in their plans. It's good for me to continue in this vein and that we took three points from a difficult match. They defended very well but we also played well and got the victory. We're very pleased knowing that in these difficult matches if we keep on winning and doing what we are doing, we'll be in the running [for the title]."

The Rodwell experiment succeeded for Moyes, though it will test Evertonian patience should his overall game plan continue against Liverpool's suspect defence on Saturday. City's own reserves will be stretched, too, should others follow the Craig Levein coaching manual but at least now, having broken the Everton hoodoo, they know they have the options to respond. Moyes's anger was reserved for the inconsistent refereeing of Howard Webb, who failed to punish Vincent Kompany for anticipating Tim Cahill's foul with a dangerous challenge of his own. The Football Association has confirmed that no retrospective action will be taken.

Teams:

Man City Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Nasri (Savic 83), Barry, Toure Yaya, Silva, Dzeko (Balotelli 60), Aguero (Milner 78).

Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Tevez.

Booked: Toure Yaya.

Goals: Balotelli 68, Milner 89.

Everton Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Neville (Drenthe 73), Fellaini, Rodwell, Osman, Coleman (Vellios 81), Cahill (Saha 66).

Subs Not Used: Mucha, Heitinga, Bilyaletdinov, Stracqualursi.

Booked: Rodwell, Neville, Osman, Cahill, Jagielka.

Att: 47, 293

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

Manchester City 2 Birmingham City 0  Seconds Out Round Three
Wednesday 21st September : George Hanson for GYKO at the Etihad Stadium

For Owen Hargreaves, it is difficult to imagine his comeback could have gone any better. His career has endured more miseries and been written off more times than he will care to remember but, finally, there is clear evidence to suggest he is at the point of re-establishing himself as a formidable opponent.

Hargreaves, 30, did not merely outdo expectations, lasting 57 minutes of this third-round Carling Cup tie when the original plan was to come off at half-time, but he announced his arrival as a Manchester City player with a moment that demonstrated why his new employers have decided he can play a significant part in their campaign to catch, then overhaul, Europe's elite clubs. The opening goal was a peach and it came from his right boot, at a distance when not every player would have had a belief in their ability to score.

Hargreaves was undoubtedly helped by the fact Birmingham were poor opponents. Nonetheless, he played with a confidence that made it seem almost a trick of the mind that at Manchester United there was a genuine feeling that the lights were about to turn out on his career.

"He's a fantastic footballer and he can become an important player for us," Roberto Mancini, the City manager, said afterwards. "It wasn't easy for him [psychologically] after so many years out, but he played well and scored a fantastic goal. If he can carry on playing often, training often, and become the player he was, it can be important for the England team too."

The road back has been long and tortuous but Hargreaves looked sharp, bright and as quick into the tackle as ever. Most importantly, he looked fit. When he left the pitch it was to a standing ovation and, before that moment, the home supporters audibly made the point that Sir Alex Ferguson may come to regret releasing him.

A long way to go until then, of course, but the mood was understandably light on a night when Mancini's experimental team had little problem moving into the fourth round and Hargreaves was not alone in terms of reflecting on a satisfying evening's work. Here, too, was Kolo Touré's first match since his six-month ban for taking a prohibited substance came to an end.

Alongside him Stefan Savic, the £6m signing from Partizan Belgrade, had a capable first start. Abdul Razak, a 19-year-old from Ivory Coast, patrolled the centre of midfield before succumbing to cramp. Wayne Bridge was in from the wilderness to play as a left-winger, with another full-back, Pablo Zabaleta, on the opposite side. Nedum Onuoha's presence at right-back emphasised that the Garry Cook affair will not be held against him.

With so many changes, it was probably inevitable that this would not be a performance totally in keeping with the slick and fluid football that Mancini's first-choice team have put together so far this season.

There was also the suspicion at times that Mario Balotelli and particularly Carlos Tevez were not going at full pelt. Balotelli, however, did take his goal with clinical precision, angling a left-foot drive into the bottom corner after Aleksandar Kolarov's low centre.

Two-nil up at the interval, the second half was a mere formality and Birmingham were left to reflect on the moment, shortly before Balotelli's strike, when City's debutant goalkeeper, Costel Pantilimon, made a hash of dealing with a free-kick and Curtis Davies's overhead kick was cleared off the line. Pantimilon, a Romania international on loan from Timisoara, is 6ft 9in – except for crosses, it seems, when he looks 5ft 8in. But that was really the sum total of Birmingham's challenge and their tepid efforts made it the perfect evening for Hargreaves to take his first steps back.

His goal was a beauty, too. Hargreaves has always been a sweet striker of the ball and this was a wonderful connection, arrowing his right-foot shot past Colin Doyle. It was a moderate goal celebration, as if he knew there were still challenges to overcome, but it still felt like a moment of great significance.

Birmingham looked defeated from that moment and by the end Mancini had brought on a 16-year-old, Karim Rekik, followed by the 20-year-old Luca Scapuzzi.

In between, the brooding Tevez ran clear only for Doyle to thwart him. Tevez's body language was all wrong but, for another former United player, it was a much more profitable evening.

Teams

Man City Pantilimon, Onuoha, Toure, Savic, Bridge (Rekik 78), Zabaleta, Hargreaves (Milner 57), Razak (Scapuzzi 86), Kolarov, Tevez, Balotelli.

Subs Not Used: Taylor, Clichy, Suarez, Aguero.

Goals: Hargreaves 17, Balotelli 38.

Birmingham Doyle, Spector, Ibanez, Davies, Murphy, Burke, N'Daw, Fahey (Gomis 67), Beausejour, Redmond (King 78), Rooney (Zigic 67).

Subs Not Used: Myhill, Caldwell, Asante, Jervis.

Att: 25, 070

Ref: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).
 

Fulham 2 Manchester City 2    Capital Punishment
Sunday 18th September 2011 : Ken Farrell for GYKO at Craven Cottage

 

This was supposed to be such an authentic mismatch that Martin Jol saw fit in his programme notes to remind everyone: "We are not playing a team of reputations, we are playing 11 v 11."

The Manchester City circus act in town against the Premier League's bottom-placed team at the start of play? What could possibly go right?

That sentiment seemed even more pertinent as Fulham found themselves trailing by two goals, and clearly inhibited, with a little over half an hour left of the match. But such is the magic dust that sometimes flutters down over a football stadium. In the 74th minute, a swing of Danny Murphy's boot sent this story on its barely credible course, via a ricochet off Vincent Kompany, towards an equaliser that inspired a cheeky "Poznan" celebration in the Hammersmith End. Fulham had not enjoyed an uplifting start to the campaign, but with that strike, and that moment, and all that a comeback against illustrious opposition can do to a team, the season takes on a rosier hue.

It was a fight back that was hardly anticipated as City eased to a routine lead, with Sergio Agüero extending his extraordinary start to life in English football with both his team's strikes. It takes his tally to eight from his first five Premier League games, a feat not repeated since the rotund Mick Quinn rampaged through the division in the colours of Coventry City in the 1992-93 season.

The opener arrived in the 18th minute, when Gareth Barry nudged the ball to David Silva, and in the blink of an eye the cunning and speed of City's front line outfoxed Fulham. There were arms raised for offside in the white back four, and the wafer-thin decision was not an enviable one for the officials, but Agüero latched on to Silva's reverse pass to finish with customary smartness. So far, so comfortable.

City were controlling, without being scintillating. Roberto Mancini was irritated that, for the second weekend in succession, his team had been dominant in possession without turning it into a forceful score line by half‑time. "It could be a lesson for us. In the first half we had 75% possession and many chances to score," he said. If they were given a talking to about their casualness at half-time, Mancini's team duly clobbered Fulham with a goal 11 seconds after the restart. From the kick-off, Gaël Clichy pumped a pass up to Edin Dzeko, whose nod down invited Agüero to do what he does best.

After such a blow, the way Fulham roused themselves was as impressive as it was unexpected. They reduced the deficit and raised the spirits in the 56th minute when the productive Moussa Dembélé and the determined Clint Dempsey combined to release Bobby Zamora, who swivelled to direct a blurring drive past Joe Hart.

In a meek first half Fulham had looked afraid to go forward, as if they were constantly unnerved about what might happen behind them. Desire and furious energy suddenly coursed through Jol's team. A well-timed Micah Richards intervention in the penalty area stopped Dempsey from another sight of goal. The City keeper was suddenly feeling the heat and had to dive to his right to parry Dembélé's low shot on the turn. Then Fulham's persistence paid off when Murphy set the place on fire.

"It was awful being bottom," concluded Jol. "But to come back from the death, especially against a team like Manchester City, shows we had the belief and the mentality."

Not so City, who wilted under their first real pressure of the season. "I'm disappointed," rued Mancini, admitting that complacency might have been a factor. "It was difficult to see Fulham scoring two goals. But a football match is finished after 95 minutes. We conceded a few stupid goals."

The Italian summoned the chutzpah to curse the fact that his squad was lacking numbers. With a straight face. "I don't have players at this moment," he lamented. "I can only change the full-backs or the strikers."

With City having spent a shade over £300m on their squad in three years, the amount of people offering him sympathy may well add up to zero.

Teams

Fulham Schwarzer, Kelly, Baird, Hangeland, John Arne Riise, Duff (Kasami 61), Murphy, Sidwell, Dempsey, Zamora, Dembele (Ruiz 88).

Subs Not Used: Etheridge, Orlando Sa, Senderos, Gecov, Grygera.

Booked: Sidwell.

Goals: Zamora 55, Murphy 75.

Man City Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Barry, Toure Yaya, Nasri (Johnson 81), Aguero (Tevez 82), Silva (Zabaleta 69), Dzeko.

Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Kolarov, Toure, Balotelli.

Booked: Barry.

Goals: Aguero 18, 46.

Att: 24, 750

Ref: Mark Clattenburg (England).

Manchester City 1 Napoli 1     Euro Draw
Wednesday 14th September 2011 : GYKO at the Etihad

Manchester City will know that they have been exposed to the subtle ordeals of the Champions League. Napoli, instead of being worn down, developed more ambition as time passed and took the lead here. This was a heartening sign, for neutrals at least, that the tournament need not slip into the permanent domination of Spain or England.

City's own reflections will have a narrow focus. They took a point because Aleksandar Kolarov snaked a free-kick inside the post in the 75th minute. It is to the team's credit that they had a such an effective set piece in their repertoire. Nonetheless, City, if this fixture is any guide, cannot assume they will be allowed to produce the free-wheeling style of this season's early weeks.

In all likelihood, Roberto Mancini would have suspected that, as a unit, his team do not quite have the knowhow to maintain strict control at home when the opposition are of this calibre. Indeed, Napoli could be a touch disappointed to have lost their lead. The goal itself had, after all, revealed gaucheness in City. Gareth Barry was careless in possession and Christian Maggio surged away with the ball before Edinson Cavani converted the chance after 69 minutes.

Sergio Agüero was soon clipping the bar from a low delivery by Samir Nasri, but the Champions League had become a grave matter for City. Their firm reply at least showed resolve. With all the talk of City's first European Cup match since 1968 there was almost an insinuation that a club of such means would make a spectacular reappearance in the tournament as a matter of course.

It was not quite so simple as all that, even if Mancini's players started as if they could not be checked. Any such assumption was disrespectful to a Serie A side that did not crumple at any moment in this encounter. One of the most vivid moments saw the City centre-half Vincent Kompany flummoxed by Ezequiel Lavezzi, with the Argentinian attacker hitting the bar from distance in the 18th minute.

There was no obvious reason why the hosts should have looked a touch uneasy on occasion. City may lack experience of this competition in modern times, but their squad is crammed with men of achievement. The ability is beyond dispute, but this manager knows that the vivacious football he has gradually introduced of late will not in itself be enough establish the club in Europe.

Napoli almost quaked in some early exchanges, but professionalism saw them through that period and they appeared to enjoy the occasion more than City. That was perhaps to be expected. The home team realise how much expectation they have to bear. City could still have had the lead at half-time. Yaya Touré tore forward in the 34th minute and linked with Agüero before shooting against the bar. Three cautions for Napoli before the interval also indicated their commitment.

In the depths of their hearts, City fans would have envisaged a spectacle to confirm that the club's standards are the equal of the world's best. Those of a more philosophical turn of mind could have argued that the whole point of City's rise has been to play for high stakes and feel the tension, as they certainly did in this match.

The mood was still a positive one in the Etihad Stadium, with no recriminations. The wonder of witnessing a fixture of this sort in the ground left a sense of thankfulness among the supporters. But City were definitely under stress. That is normal for the prominent teams. There might have been an opener for them in the 40th minute, but the goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis reached a Kolarov drive aimed for the corner of the target. Nothing so very terrible had happened to City and the main priority would have been to stay calm and methodical.

The composure of Mancini's players was tried as the match wore on, especially when a deep cross from the left fell to Marek Hamsik and the Slovak's drive needed to be cleared expertly from the goalline by Kompany in the 50th minute. There were several moments when those who have made too much of the relative decline in Serie A had to appreciate the potency these clubs can still find.

It was hardly an occasion for merely appreciating the side that had denied City a win, but this game ought to be valued for its proof that diversity remains in a competition that is supposed to embody the highest standards of football on our continent.

Teams

Man City Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov (Clichy 75), Toure Yaya, Barry, Silva, Aguero, Nasri (Johnson 75), Dzeko (Tevez 81).

Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Richards, Savic, Toure.

Booked: Zabaleta.

Goals: Kolarov 75.

Napoli De Sanctis, Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica, Maggio, Inler, Gargano, Zuniga, Hamsik (Santana 89), Lavezzi (Dzemaili 57), Cavani (Pandev 83).

Subs Not Used: Rosati, Fideleff, Dossena, Fernandez.

Booked: Maggio, Cannavaro, Aronica, Inler.

Goals: Cavani 69.

Att: 44, 026

Ref: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden).

Manchester City 3 Wigan Athletic 0    Aguero Treble Strike
Saturday 10th Sept 2011 : GYKO at the Etihad

Four straight wins, 15 goals, another hat-trick and a Champions League debut around the corner, Manchester City seem to be short of nothing except a new chief executive, and Garry Cook's shoes will surely be filled quickly as the job description must rank as one of the most attractive in the country.

Perhaps the only other thing City lack is a happy, smiling Carlos Tevez, for the deposed captain failed feebly with a first-half penalty here, and his second-half departure was the signal for City to finally cut loose and score the goals they had been threatening against a Wigan side clinging on more by good luck than sound organisation.

City left Edin Dzeko on the bench, a fine reward for his four-goal haul at Spurs in his last league game, though Roberto Mancini does have Napoli to think about on Wednesday. Tevez would not be thrilled to be left out of the Champions League lineup, though the possibility exists that Dzeko provides a more straightforward, less complicated focus for the attack. Whatever permutation Mancini comes up with, as long as they have David Silva to supply the mercurial Sergio Agüero, City will cause problems for most opponents. Agüero could hardly be denied the man-of-the-match award after scoring all three goals, though Silva's performance was arguably the game's most impressive.

"Carlos Tevez is not at 100% fitness at the moment," Mancini said, ominously. "He needed this game, it was important to play him and he did well, but he will need maybe two or three more games to get back to 100%. David Silva is a top player, but so is Sergio Agüero and Yaya Touré. For them it is easy to play football. We could have made this game easier for ourselves, I think we must have had 15 chances in the first half and scored one goal, but now we can look forward to Napoli. That will be another hard game, because the first game is always difficult."

Wigan do not possess the sort of defenders who could easily cope with Silva and Agüero's tricky control and imaginative passing, as was shown when Adrian López unapologetically barged the former over for the clearest of penalties mid-way through the first half. City were already a goal up at that point, Tevez, Silva and Agüero having combined for an early strike of elegant simplicity, and the way Wigan were playing the floodgates appeared likely to open at any moment. Yet in keeping with the careless manner in which the home side completed the first half, as if they were finding it so easy they could hardly be bothered to concentrate, Tevez stroked his penalty tamely towards Ali al-Habsi and one goal was all that separated the sides at the interval.

Silva had already had a shot saved and Vincent Kompany had seen a goal-bound header bizarrely diverted over the bar by Joleon Lescott before Agüero scored. Agüero was narrowly wide twice before half-time but City should have increased their lead when Micah Richards stayed onside to reach Tevez's perfectly weighted pass, only to flick a shot against the bar with the goal at his mercy. Kompany also hit the woodwork with a header from a corner and Yaya Touré rolled the rebound right across the face of goal. As all Wigan had to offer was a Franco Di Santo half chance that the striker poked wide, the visitors must have been mightily relieved to begin the second half still in the game.

Tevez and Agüero went close early in the second half but when Victor Moses and Hugo Rodallega combined neatly on the hour for the latter to force Joe Hart's first real save of the afternoon it was a reminder that the game was not yet won. Mancini responded by sending on Samir Nasri for Tevez, who while effective in parts had not really combined with Silva and Agüero as devastatingly as might have been hoped. Nasri underlined the point with his first contribution, delicately slipping the ball forward to leave Agüero a simple finish for the second goal.

That acted as a pressure release, and within minutes the superb Silva was wrongfooting almost the entire Wigan defence and sending Agüero through for City's second hat-trick in four matches.

"City have gone to a different level, they can be regarded as title contenders now," a glum Wigan manager Roberto Martínez reflected. "I think we could have been a little wiser, we were capable of causing City a bit more trouble than we did, but mentally we were defeated almost before the game began. We never believed we could get a result here, against all City's big names, and that is disappointing."

Martínez has a right to be disappointed, Wigan have not always been overwhelmed or overawed against City in recent seasons, but the way things are shaping up he is unlikely to be the only manager to come here and suffer the same sense of frustration.

Teams

Man City Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Milner, Toure Yaya (Razak 80), Johnson, Silva, Aguero (Balotelli 71), Tevez (Nasri 61).

Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Dzeko, Toure.

Goals: Aguero 13, 63, 69.

Wigan Al Habsi, Boyce (Stam 60), Caldwell, Lopez, Figueroa, Rodallega, Diame, Watson (Crusat 70), McArthur, Moses, Di Santo (Gomez 70).

Subs Not Used: Kirkland, McCarthy, Sammon, Jones.

Att: 46, 509

Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

 

Return to Main Page           Home Page

QUICK NAVIGATION