December 2007 - Reports
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Manchester City 0 Liverpool 0  Record Attendance but no goals
Sunday December 30th 2007 : Daniel Taylor for GYKO at the COMSTAD


One day to go before the transfer window swings open and it is easy to understand why Sven-Goran Eriksson and Rafael Benítez are eager to get down to business. Manchester City and Liverpool would like to believe it will be a productive 2008 but the only logical conclusion from a prosaic scoreless draw here was that there is an awful lot of work to be done first - and that both managers may need to pull a couple of rabbits out of the hat in the mid-season sale.

For City the focus must be on bringing in an accomplished forward, or maybe a couple, because Darius Vassell playing on his own in attack is not going to get them into the Champions League and nor is Rolando Bianchi, the £9m Italian who seems destined to be remembered as one of Eriksson's few mistakes in his time in Manchester.

Liverpool, on the other hand, cannot go on relying on Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres to win them matches. The shortcomings of both sides were apparent to all on a disappointing afternoon and, until they are remedied, City can forget about making up the fifth component of a new "Big Five" while Liverpool, once again, will have to grit their teeth and accept that the league title is not coming back to Anfield.

Benítez will certainly be frustrated that his players could not see off a team who have suddenly started to look jaded and at times, going forward, bankrupt of ideas. For long spells Liverpool were comfortably the better side, driving forward with great purpose and desire, and it needed a splendid save from Joe Hart, followed by a goal line clearance from Richard Dunne, to stop Dirk Kuyt winning the game with a header four minutes from the end of normal time.

For all that, it was a laboured performance lacking any real fluency and, even on a weekend when Manchester United lost to West Ham United at Upton Park, it was difficult to believe that this methodical, often predictable Liverpool side have serious aspirations to depose the reigning champions.

The result leaves Liverpool 10 points behind Arsenal, albeit with a game in hand, and Benítez may come to regret his side's failure to make their domination count, even if he did declare himself reasonably satisfied. "We had 17 attempts against a side that has a fantastic record at home, so I can't say anything critical," he said.

"We may be 10 points behind but if we continue to play like that we will win a lot of our future games. The players worked really hard, they had plenty of possession, controlled the game and created a lot of chances. We must find the positives, which are that we deserved to win. We cannot think about the negatives."

His team certainly highlighted the fact that Eriksson may need several more of Thaksin Shinawatra's bags of gold before City get their wish to expand the Premier League's Big Four. This was not a good day for Eriksson's more creative players and, with Stephen Ireland and Elano both subdued, it does not reflect well on Eriksson's team that they went through the whole game without managing a shot on target. José Reina, the Liverpool goalkeeper, left the pitch with barely a scrape of mud on his kit.

At the other end Hart's reflex save to deny Kuyt at the end demonstrated why Eriksson has installed him as his first-choice goalkeeper ahead of the Sweden international Andreas Isaksson. Yet Hart, from a Liverpool perspective, had little to do otherwise, with Dunne and Micah Richards immovable figures at the heart of City's defence.

Dunne, in particular, nullified the threat of Torres. "He was everywhere," enthused Eriksson, who also paid tribute to the 34-year-old Dietmar Hamann's expertise in the holding midfield role. "I just wish I had him when he was 20 years old," said the Swede.

Eriksson could reflect on two headed opportunities inside the opening quarter-hour for Vassell and Dunne but the game thereafter became a story of Liverpool pressure. Even then, however, the visitors often lacked fluency in attack, with neither Gerrard nor Torres anywhere close to his best. Yossi Benayoun was lively on the right but it is bewildering that Benítez persists with Harry Kewell on the left when he has Ryan Babel on the bench. Kuyt is a willing runner but is this really a striker to win the league?

The evidence points towards another season of what-ifs at Anfield but at least Benítez seems to have been given permission by the club's American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window. "We are getting close to some players," the Liverpool manager reported.

Eriksson also has the backing to bring in "two or three new players" although the depressing news for City is that Chelsea appear to have overtaken them in the chase for Nicolas Anelka of Bolton Wanderers. Anelka, undoubtedly, would fit perfectly into this City side and until Eriksson brings in a striker of that order they may have to continue looking at the top four through envious eyes.

"It would be nice if there was a Big Five like in the jungle," the City manager mused. "But fifth doesn't get you a Champions League place."

On a closing note, great praise must go for the excellent performance from the often controversial,  Uriah Rennie who refereed the game with little allowing it to flow at a decent pace.

Man City: Hart, Onuoha, Richards, Dunne, Ball, Ireland (Gelson 61), Hamann, Corluka, Petrov, Elano (Bianchi 70), Vassell (Geovanni 74).
Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Garrido.

Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Arbeloa, Aurelio, Benayoun, Gerrard, Mascherano, Kewell (Babel 74), Torres, Kuyt.
Subs Not Used: Itandje, Riise, Voronin, Alonso.

Booked: Torres.

Att: 47,321

Ref: Uriah Rennie (S Yorkshire).

Man City 2 Blackburn Rovers 2       Rovers Return

Wednesday 27th December 2007 : Dan Shearing at the COMSTAD for GYKO

 

Manchester City lost their 100% home record in the Premier League this season as in-form striker Roque Santa Cruz bagged a brace for Blackburn.

City went ahead when the inspirational Martin Petrov crossed for Darius Vassell to nod in, before Santa Cruz headed a Bentley free-kick to equalise. Another Petrov cross was put into his own net by Ryan Nelsen (see picture right), before Santa Cruz popped up to salvage a draw.

The Paraguayan has now scored a remarkable seven goals in his last four games and he denied City fourth place in the league in the process.

After a subdued opening, the game came to life with the first real chance after 21 minutes - and how City striker Rolando Bianchi will live to regret not putting his side in front. Petrov played a gorgeous one-two with Stephen Ireland and hit the left byeline, picking out Bianchi perfectly, only for the Italian to completely miss the ball in front of an open goal.

That extraordinary moment was the signal for the game to explode - and three goals in three sizzling minutes brought Eastlands to life. Petrov beat the offside trap and raced down the left once more, this time expertly clipping the ball to the far post for Vassell to nod in.

Only 61 seconds later Blackburn were level as Santa Cruz bagged his sixth goal in four games by heading home Bentley's wickedly inswinging free-kick from the left.

But two minutes later City restored their lead when Petrov caused yet more mayhem and rifled the ball across goal, only for Blackburn captain Nelsen to inadvertently put the ball into his own net.

With the main action out of the way, the game reverted back to the patchy affair it had been before the three goals in three minutes and 26 seconds. Rovers brought on Benni McCarthy at half-time and he was close to being sent clean through, only for David Dunn to overhit his pass to the South African.

Blackburn were beginning to get on top and a cross from the right fell to Morten Gamst Pedersen, who hit a powerful effort that Nedum Onuoha did well to block.

City sent on Elano to try to finish off the match and the Brazilian nearly did so in majestic fashion, chesting the ball down and lashing in a cracking volley from 25 yards that flew inches wide. But with eight minutes to go, Santa Cruz reacted quickly to get his head on the end of a Bentley cross from the right and earn his side a crucial point.

  • Man City: Hart, Onuoha, Dunne, Richards, Ball, Corluka, Gelson, Ireland (Garrido 78), Petrov, Bianchi (Elano 64), Vassell.
    Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Geovanni, Hamann.

    Booked: Richards.

    Goals: Vassell 27, Nelsen 30 og.

    Blackburn: Friedel, Khizanishvili (McCarthy 46), Nelsen, Samba, Berner, Emerton, Reid, Dunn (Kerimoglu 90), Pedersen, Bentley, Santa Cruz (Roberts 90).
    Subs Not Used: Brown, Olsson.

    Booked: Berner.

    Goals: Santa Cruz 28, 84.

    Att: 42,112.

    Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

  •  

    Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester City           Battling point    

    Rolando Bianchi wheels away after putting Man City ahead at Aston Villa
    Rolando Bianchi wheels away after putting Man City ahead at Villa
    Saturday 22nd December 2007 ; Chris Pilling for GYKO at Villa Park

    Rolando Bianchi gave City the lead from Martin Petrov's cross after 11 minutes, but John Carew's deflected shot put Villa level three minutes later. Villa took control, with City keeper Joe Hart turning Carew's shot on to the post and Elano clearing Gabriel Agbonlahor's effort off the line.

    City's Petrov wasted a good chance to seal a win late on, shooting wide from substitute Vedran Corluka's cross. City's rejuvenated striker Bianchi capped a fine start by the visitors with the opening goal after 11 minutes. Petrov took massive credit with a classic left-wing cross that simply invited the Italian to slide it home from eight yards.

    The Villa Park crowd had already grown restless, but Martin O'Neill's side equalised in slightly fortuitous fashion three minutes later.  The giant Carew ran on to Wilfred Bouma's pass and got ahead of Richard Dunne to send a deflected shot beyond City keeper Hart.

    City suddenly went into their shell and Villa dominated for the rest of the first half, with Carew's stature causing major problems. Villa were a real threat at corners, and thought they had taken the lead after 24 minutes. Agbonlahor bundled Ashley Young's corner towards goal, and it needed a last-ditch clearance from Elano to save City, despite appeals from Villa that the ball had crossed the line.

    Television replays proved inconclusive, although the Villa players were clearly angered by the failure to give a goal although I felt it was well cleared.

    Carew almost got his second after 30 minutes, when Hart turned his 20-yard shot on to the post - although City made justified claims for both offside and handball.

    City managed to stem the flow of Villa attacks after the break, but were struggling to get their own match-winners Petrov and Elano into the game. The Brazilian had a chance with an angled free-kick from 20 yards, but he could not find his usual accuracy and curled his effort well over.

    It was Elano's final contribution, the talismanic midfield man looking short of full fitness, and he was replaced by Javier Garrido with 15 minutes left. Petrov had a glorious chance to put City in front after 80 minutes when he was found unmarked at the far post by substitute Vedran Corluka, but he swept a poor finish off target.

    Nigel Reo-Coker then led a Villa counter-attack, but delayed with Agbonlahor waiting unmarked and City defender Michael Ball recovered to clear. Hart was then alert to race out of his area to block Agbonlahor as he raced through.

  • Aston Villa: Carson, Mellberg, Knight, Laursen, Bouma, Maloney (Petrov 75), Reo-Coker, Barry, Young, Agbonlahor, Carew.
    Subs Not Used: Taylor, Harewood, Davies, Gardner.

    Booked: Barry, Reo-Coker.

    Goals: Carew 14.

    Man City: Hart, Onuoha, Dunne, Richards, Ball, Vassell, Hamann (Corluka 70), Gelson, Petrov, Elano (Garrido 76), Bianchi (Etuhu 85).
    Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Geovanni.

    Booked: Hamann, Gelson, Ball, Vassell.

    Goals: Bianchi 11.

    Att: 41,455

    Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

  •  

    Manchester City 0 Tottenham 2   Feeble League Cup Exit
    Tuesday 18th December 2007 : Get Your Kits Out at the COMSTAD

    Ten-man Tottenham ended Manchester City's 100% home record to reach the semi-finals of the Carling Cup. Tottenham took the lead when Jermain Defoe rounded off a neat passing move by steering home Aaron Lennon's cross.

    City struggled to respond before Spurs had Didier Zokora sent off after 20 minutes for a lunge on Elano.

    City came forward but Paul Robinson saved from Darius Vassell and Rolando Bianchi before Steed Malbranque's breakaway goal (pictured right) sealed Spurs' victory.

    The home side had won all 10 of their previous matches at Eastlands this season but they showed precious little evidence of that form here. It was Tottenham who were on the front foot early on, with Dimitar Berbatov at the fulcrum of their best moves. The Bulgarian was involved in Defoe's goal after five minutes, releasing Lennon who sprinted away from Javier Garrido before crossing for his England team-mate to sweep the ball home. Berbatov was a constant menace, using his strength to hold up the ball and his skill to lay off clever passes behind City's defence for Defoe and Lennon to run on to.

    But that attacking threat was diminished in the 20th minute when referee Steve Bennett showed Zokora a red card for his lunging tackle on Elano - a decision that incensed Spurs assistant boss Gus Poyet.

    With Tottenham down to 10 men, a visibly unhappy Defoe was replaced by Teemu Tainio, who slotted into a reshuffled back-line.

    Having an extra man did not help City much at first, and they were grateful to Vedran Corluka when he deflected a Berbatov shot over the crossbar. Elano missed from close range for the home side and Michael Johnson fired just over the bar as Tottenham were forced to defend at last. And in the early stages of the second half a repeat of City's stirring comeback against Bolton on Saturday looked on the cards.

    Robinson had to tip over Vassell's header and Martin Petrov volleyed over when well placed before the Tottenham keeper parried a Bianchi effort. City also felt they should have had a penalty when Pascal Chimbonda tangled with Richard Dunne inside the area.

    But Tottenham's tireless work, despite being a man down, meant they saw out the storm.

    And, although City kept attacking, they were looking vulnerable on the break and Malbranque duly punished them with eight minutes to go. Substitute Jamie O'Hara played the Frenchman in, and he rode Dunne's tackle before firing past Joe Hart to ensure his side's progress.

    Man City: Hart, Corluka, Richards, Dunne, Garrido (Ball 77), Vassell (Mpenza 69), Johnson, Hamann (Geovanni 59), Petrov, Elano, Bianchi.
    Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Gelson.

    Booked: Dunne, Johnson, Elano.

    Tottenham: Robinson, Chimbonda, Zokora, Kaboul, Lee, Lennon (O'Hara 72), Jenas, Boateng, Malbranque (Huddlestone 88), Berbatov, Defoe (Tainio 23).
    Subs Not Used: Cerny, Taarabt.

    Sent Off: Zokora (20).

    Booked: Chimbonda, Malbranque, Jenas.

    Goals: Defoe 5, Malbranque 82.

    Att: 38,564

    Ref: Steve Bennett (Kent).

    Manchester City 4 Bolton Wanderers 2   The Ideal Home Show


    Manchester City do not attract the same headlines as England, but the original foreigner in charge of the national team is making a bold bid for Premier League attention.

    Thanks to late goals from Darius Vassell and the promising Kelvin Etuhu, Sven-Goran Eriksson will now reach Christmas with a perfect home league record. Nine games, nine wins. Beat that, Fabio. No one was predicting such a thing in August, although no one was predicting Bolton would need to be revived by Gary Megson, either.

    On this evidence the revival is not fully complete, though for well over 80 minutes Bolton looked anything but a team threatened by relegation. They just could not match City's consistency and determination to keep going, and who would have predicted that? 'I told the players they looked like losers at half time, but we showed very good morale in the second half,' Eriksson said.

    Bolton gave as good an account of themselves as City in the opening minutes, only to present an early goal to their opponents with an unforced defensive error. Ricardo Gardner had an opportunity to clear under no particular pressure from Vassell, but misjudged the flight of the ball and let his man in behind him. Vassell might have done better than strike his shot straight at the goalkeeper, although once the ball had rebounded back off Jussi Jaaskelainen at least he had the presence of mind to find Michael Johnson, whose first-time pass left Rolando Bianchi (pictured above) with a simple tap-in . If it was a sloppy goal for Bolton to concede, City's willingness to get forward could not be faulted. Johnson and Bianchi were both up in support before the Wanderers defence could get back to cover.

    The visitors threatened mostly from set pieces, as is their wont, although Nicolas Anelka was always dangerous and grazed a post with a shot from a tight angle after 25 minutes. Two minutes after that, Nicky Hunt sent over a deep cross from the right that Kevin Davies not only reached but knocked down for Anelka, not quite accurately enough for an effective shot. Still, City had been warned, and could not say Bolton's equaliser just after the half-hour was undeserved or unexpected. It was actually the result of one of the best bits of interpassing in the first half, with El Hadji Diouf moving the ball out to Davies in space on the right, then continuing his run into the area to sweep a low cross into the net.

    With Vassell lapsing back into disappointing mode and Bianchi failing to bother Jaaskelainen again before half time, Bolton saw an opportunity to turn round in front and took it. Gardner made up for his earlier mistake by skipping around Vedran Corluka on the left, doing well to keep the ball in play and when Dietmar Hamann attempted to cut out the cross, the City midfielder succeeded only in teeing it up for Kevin Nolan. The Bolton captain looked up as if amazed at the amount of unprotected goal he could see and lost no time in poking a shot into the generous gap.

    City were back on level terms three minutes into the second half following a good run and cross from Etuhu, immediately adding more punch down the right than Vassell or Fernandes Gelson, who he replaced, had managed. Bolton survived the initial danger without fully clearing the ball and when improvisation from Johnson retained possession for City, a retreating Hamann sent in a hopeful shot that Lubomir Michalik inadvertently touched past his own goalkeeper.

    Both sides appeared to think that was enough scoring for a cold winter's afternoon and the game was becalmed for 25 minutes until incident returned suddenly with a chance at either end. The quiet though ominously threatening Anelka brought a sharp save from Andreas Isaksson in the City goal after good work by Diouf and Davies, then, within seconds, Vassell held the ball up at the other end long enough for Johnson to stroke a shot against a post.

    City's crucial third goal was considerably scruffier than either of those opportunities, though Vassell will not mind in the slightest. He was in the right place at the right time to meet Martin Petrov's cross and though his contact was not the cleanest, a stranded Jaaskelainen was powerless to prevent the ball trickling over the line off an upright.

    'We left a massive hole and chucked away a result,' Megson said. 'We can't keep doing that. We only start defending about 10 seconds after we should.'

    Bolton were all over the place chasing an equaliser by the time Etuhu added a last-gasp fourth, though, from Javier Garrido's cross, he took his opportunity coolly. 'He did two excellent things and then he scored a goal,' Eriksson said. 'He's not ready yet, but he's got pace and he's a talent.'

    Man City: Isaksson, Corluka, Richards, Dunne, Ball, Gelson (Etuhu 46), Hamann, Johnson, Petrov (Garrido 83), Bianchi (Mpenza 87), Vassell.
    Subs Not Used: Hart, Geovanni.

    Booked: Etuhu.

    Goals: Bianchi 7, Michalik 48 og, Vassell 77, Etuhu 90.

    Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt (McCann 85), Meite, Michalik, Gardner, Nolan, Campo (Giannakopoulos 86), Guthrie, Diouf, Davies, Anelka.
    Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Samuel, Speed.

    Booked: Nolan.

    Goals: Diouf 31, Nolan 40.

    Att: 40,506

    Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).

    Tottenham Hotspur 2 Manchester City 1      City slip up again
    Sunday 9th December 2007 : Rob Ashton for GYKO at White Hart Lane

    Jermain Defoe showed Juande Ramos why he should be a first-team regular when he came off the bench to net the crucial winner for Tottenham Hotspur against Manchester City.

    With Robbie Keane serving a three-match ban, Ramos opted to start the game with Darren Bent alongside Dimitar Berbatov. The move looked to have paid off when Pascal Chimbonda fired the home side into the lead in controversial circumstances on the stroke of half-time as he appeared to use his hand to direct the ball past Andreas Isaksson whilst in an offside position.

    City substitute Rolando Bianchi grabbed an equaliser midway through the second half and it looked as if Tottenham had thrown away another victory at White Hart Lane. But when City midfielder Stephen Ireland was shown a red card for a reckless 82nd-minute challenge on Young-Pyo Lee, it was left to substitute Defoe to steal the headlines when he grabbed the winner 60 seconds later.

    Tottenham started the game brightly and could have opened the scoring on nine minutes when Berbatov played Bent through on goal, but his shot was kept out by the legs of Isaksson.

    The home side went close to breaking the deadlock again on 12 minutes when Berbatov's ball fell to Steed Malbranque, but the Tottenham winger's shot deflected off Richard Dunne and flew inches past the post.

    Tottenham finally took the lead when they scored on the stroke of half-time. Jermaine Jenas played his free-kick into Berbatov who back-heeled the ball towards goal for Chimbonda, who looked as if he used his hand to direct the ball past Isaksson and into the back of the net.

    City equalised on 61 minutes when Martin Petrov's corner fell to Bianchi. He pulled away from Bent and flashed a stunning header past Paul Robinson and into the top corner of the net.

    The game completely changed on 82 minutes when Ireland was dismissed for a two-footed challenge on Lee.

    The home side made the extra man count just one minute later when Malbranque's shot came back off the post and Defoe was on hand to fire the rebound home.

    Dejected Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson admitted: "It was a bad result but we played one of our better away games. We were brave and tried to win. It was a very open game.
    "I am not happy with the defeat but I am with how we behaved. If we play like this I don't think we will lose many games. "I have no complaints about the red card. It was the right decision and we have to learn. Maybe their goal was offside, maybe it was handball but sometimes you get them and sometimes you don't."

    Tottenham: Robinson, Chimbonda, Dawson, Kaboul, Lee, Lennon (Boateng 67), Jenas, Zokora, Malbranque, Berbatov (Tainio 90), Bent (Defoe 77).
    Subs Not Used: Cerny, O'Hara.

    Booked: Defoe, Jenas.

    Goals: Chimbonda 45, Defoe 83.

    Man City: Isaksson, Corluka, Richards, Dunne, Garrido, Ireland, Johnson, Etuhu (Bianchi 58), Gelson, Petrov, Vassell (Geovanni 84).
    Subs Not Used: Hart, Jihai, Onuoha.

    Sent Off: Ireland (82).

    Booked: Garrido, Dunne, Gelson.

    Goals: Bianchi 61.

    Att: 35,646.

    Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

    Wigan Athletic 1 Manchester City 1    The big yawn....
    Saturday 1st December 2007 :
    Duncan Mackay for GYKO at the JJB Stadium

    Steve Bruce's reign got off to an encouraging start as ten-man Wigan Athletic showed their fighting qualities to stop the rot after eight straight defeats and deny Manchester City the chance to move ahead of rivals United in the Premier League table.

    But the former Birmingham boss had to endure an instantly forgettable first minute when City were gifted the lead before they battled back to level before half-time.And he could have lived without the late red card for skipper Mario Melchiot who now faces a three-match ban.

    Sven-Goran Eriksson's side was missing influential Brazilian star Elano who picked up a hamstring injury in training, but Geovanni was back in the starting line-up.

    Wigan had Chris Kirkland, Antonio Valencia and Melchiot back after injury and Emile Heskey, who was on the bench at Arsenal last week, was in from the off partnering Marcus Bent up front with Antoine Sibierski injured.

    The welcome applause for Bruce had hardly died down when City grabbed the lead after a terrible blunder by Titus Bramble.

    The big centre-back made a total mess of getting the ball clear when there appeared to be no danger.

    The slip let Geovanni in and the Brazilian nipped round Kirkland to slot it into the empty net after just 35 seconds to make it a nightmare start for the Latics and their new manager. (see picture above)

    But Wigan bounced back to level it up when Jason Koumas pounced on Vedran Corluka's clearing header to pick out the unmarked Paul Scharner with the cross, and the Austrian midfielder headed in the equaliser.

    The Latics threatened again just before half-time when Koumas hammered one over the bar and a Kevin Kilbane throw-in bounced dangerously in the box, but no-one took advantage of the chance.

    Ryan Taylor replaced Heskey and the former Tranmere player went close to firing Wigan into the lead.

    Scharner set up the strike and City keeper Andreas Isaksson reacted superbly to push it wide.

    Wigan had a handball appeal against Micah Richards turned down as Valencia chased into the box and there was more controversy when Michael Ball was robbed of possession just inside the area, and ref Mike Riley blew for a free-kick.

    But the match ended on a sour note when the Latics were reduced to ten men for the last three minutes after Melchiot was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Stephen Ireland.

    And the Latics were denied again in stoppage time when the ball appeared to strike Kelvin Etuhu on the hand inside the area.

    New Latics boss Steve Bruce said: "I remember my debut for Norwich against Liverpool. "I had just gone there from Gillingham and wanted to make a big impression. I headed one into my own net inside the first 30 seconds. "It was as bad as that. I certainly could not have imagined a worse start. It was horrific and in fairness the lads could have folded, but they had the courage to make a fist of it after that."

    As for City, their fans drifted away disappointed that - after that explosive opening - they failed seriously to trouble Kirkland again. But at least it was better than last season. Then, their 4-0 defeat was their worst performance of the season and left real fears of relegation hanging over them. This time, the fear was that they had missed a golden opportunity to climb, however briefly, into second spot. What Bruce would give for such a dramatic turnaround in fortunes. City's Sven-Goran Eriksson added: "One point is always good in a way, but inside I have a feeling we should be doing a little bit better in games like this. "We were a bit lucky with our goal because it was a mistake, but it was also a mistake from us for their goal. "We have lost three times away from home before this, so one point is okay. I don't have the answer to why we play better at home than away, but I wish we could."

    Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Kilbane, Valencia, Scharner, Landzaat, Koumas, Bent, Heskey (Taylor 53).
    Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Granqvist, Cotterill, Skoko.

    Sent Off: Melchiot (88).

    Booked: Bramble, Scharner.

    Goals: Scharner 25.

    Man City: Isaksson, Corluka, Dunne, Richards, Garrido (Ball 36), Ireland, Hamann, Gelson, Geovanni (Etuhu 69), Petrov, Samaras (Bianchi 78).
    Subs Not Used: Hart, Jihai.

    Booked: Hamann, Ball.

    Goals: Geovanni 1.

    Att: 18,614

    Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).

     

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