September 2007 - Reports
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  • Manchester City 3 Newcastle United 1      The ELANO SHOW
    Saturday September 29th 2007 :  GYKO at the COMSTAD

    Three points, third place in the table, three goals at Eastlands for the first time this year and the best Manchester City league start for 30 seasons. Forhis next trick, Sven-Goran Eriksson will probably be seen walking on water.

    Paul Merson was suggesting on Sky during the Carling Cup snorefest against Norwich on Tuesday that he wouldn't have a City season ticket as a gift. He would have changed his mind pronto had he watched this. Anyone would. Apart from three goals of the highest quality, four if you count the class finish by Obafemi Martins that gave Newcastle an early lead, there was incident and entertainment here from start to finish with even the beaten visitors playing their part. It was just a pity the ground was not quite full for what was this stadium's finest hour.

    Newcastle had no answer to City's verve and confidence and no way at all of playing Elano. The Brazilian was man of the match by a distance even before he capped a dazzlingly inventive display with a stunning free-kick that not even Shay Given could get anywhere near.

    'He can do a little bit of everything, he's got class feet.' Eriksson said admiringly. He can say that again. A few more defences will be embarrassed this season if Elano can keep up this level of performance.

    There were mistakes from both sides to begin with, with Richard Dunne gifting Martins an early opening and Emile Mpenza almost taking advantage of Given dithering over a back pass, before a long ball hoisted forward from halfway was turned into a goal for Newcastle by clinical finishing from Martins. Micah Richards and Vedran Corluka were caught ball-watching as Martins darted goal-side of them, his instant control and awareness of Joe Hart's poor positioning making it easy to lift a shot over the goalkeeper.

    Hart was preferred to Kasper Schmeichel after playing against Norwich in midweek, though does not look to offer a great deal more security. One mis-control resulted in the ball rolling right along his goal line and almost into the net. 'I was a little worried about corners, crosses and Mark Viduka,' Eriksson said, explaining the change. He clearly had not factored in over hit back passes from Javier Garrido.

    City survived and were back on terms before the interval, when a superb Elano pass to send Stephen Ireland down the right wing brought a perfectly judged low cross to the far post where Martin Petrov applied the finish. Ireland could have had another when Elano released him again four minutes from half time, though he shot against Given's chest.

    Two minutes into the second half City went in front, Petrov taking advantage of Newcastle hesitancy on halfway to hold off Steven Taylor on a rampaging run down the left before he crossed for Mpenza to score with a stooping header. 'That was where we committed defensive suicide,' said a glum Sam Allardyce, his dissatisfaction with his back line not even tempered by news that Michael Owen has had his operation and could be back in action as early as next week. 'We didn't contain them after going in front. City did the right thing and we didn't. We are missing quite a few players at the moment, and the ones we had on the pitch were a little short of experience of playing with each other.'

    That seemed a slightly feeble excuse to offer at City, where the players were only introduced to each other a month ago and where Eriksson is promising the football can only get better once everyone learns to speak English. Elano has been operating at less than full fitness as well, so goodness knows how effective he will be when he fully adapts to the Premier League. His free-kick from 25 yards was a showstopper, right across and over Given and into the far corner.

    City's elegant passing was being met with chants of 'Ole'. It probably won't last, but despite the Newcastle fans' optimistic taunt, it might be a while before City start to miss Joey Barton.

    Man City: Hart, Corluka (Onuoha 57), Dunne, Richards, Garrido, Ireland, Johnson (Ball 86), Hamann, Petrov, Mpenza, Elano (Geovanni 89).
    Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Samaras

    Goals: Petrov 38, Mpenza 47, Elano 87.

    Newcastle: Given, Beye, Rozehnal, Taylor (Faye 84), N'Zogbia, Smith, Geremi (Jose Enrique 76), Butt, Martins, Viduka (Emre 88), Milner.
    Subs Not Used: Harper, Pattison.

    Goals: Martins 29.

    Att: 40,606

    Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside).

    Manchester City 1 Norwich City 0
    Tuesday 25th September 2007 : David Williamson for GYKO at the COMSTAD

    Georgios Samaras netted a last-minute winner on his first appearance of the season to give Manchester City victory over Norwich in the Carling Cup.

    Chances were at a premium with Michael Ball going close with a free-kick while Norwich's Lee Croft was off target against his former side.

    The hosts finished well and both Kelvin Etuhu and Rolando Bianchi went close.

    And Samaras raced onto a Etuhu through ball in the dying stages to seal a place in the last 16.

    Man City: Hart, Logan, Dunne, Onuoha, Ball, Jihai, Ireland, Gelson (Etuhu 68), Samaras, Geovanni (Evans 79), Bianchi.
    Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Dabo, Williamson.

    Goals: Samaras 90.

    Norwich: Marshall, Otsemobor, Doherty, Murray, Lappin, Russell, Jarvis, Spillane, Croft, Cureton, Brown.
    Subs Not Used: Gilks, Strihavka, Eagle, Cave-Brown, Martin.

    Booked: Spillane.

    Att: 20,938.

    Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).

    Fulham 3 Manchester City 3          
    Saturday September 23rd 2007 : Arindam Rej for GYKO at Craven Cottage

    The last people Sven-Goran Eriksson needed reminding about was a Northern Ireland team of two years ago, who defeated his England side to produce the most humiliating result of his career. Unfortunately, their manager that day, Lawrie Sanchez, and four of his players from that occasion featured in the Fulham team who gave Eriksson a difficult time again last night.

    Twice Eriksson's City side fell behind, and it looked like he would be going home an unhappy man. But his team produced the moment of individual brilliance to earn a hard-fought draw from a thrilling contest.

    'If you are watching the game, it's entertaining,' said Eriksson. 'But if you're in my clothes, then you are not happy with some of the decisions we took when defending.'

    City certainly contributed to their own problems. One goal came from their inability to deal with a basic route one move. Another came from careless defending of a free-kick. It made for an all-action contest that included a scuffle between Micah Richards and Clint Dempsey that could have seen worse punishment than a booking apiece.

    Fulham dominated the early stages and snatched the lead after Davis picked out Hameur Bouazza on the left flank. Bouazza's cross was glanced in at the near post by Simon Davies, who sneaked beyond Richard Dunne in the six-yard box. Fulham were making easy inroads down Manchester City's right side, with Vedran Corluka looking sluggish. Bouazza should have done better with Fulham's next clear chance, but his sliced effort, after a promising break by Dempsey, did not test Kasper Schmeichel.

    Corluka made amends for his earlier poor effort with a fine cross from the right that eventually landed at Martin Petrov's feet, but the City midfielder put too much power into his strike. City levelled courtesy of Petrov when he cut beyond Baird and watched his low shot evade a cluster of Fulham defenders. The unsighted Antti Niemi could do little to stop the strike. The visitors' confidence was growing, and they finished the half looking far stronger.

    Fulham immediately wrestled back the initiative after half time. The lively Dempsey set up substitute Diomansy Kamara, who was tripped by Dunne as he drifted beyond him while surging towards the edge of the 18-yard area. Bouazza took advantage with his 22-yard free-kick, exploiting a gap between City's badly-positioned defenders.

    The game changed dramatically in the next 10 minutes. City wasted no time in equalising as Emile Mpenza headed on for Petrov, who strode forward and shot from 18 yards. That strike was parried by Niemi, but Mpenza used his head again, nodding the rebound back beyond the Fulham goalkeeper.

    Incredibly, City then went ahead after a fabulous one-two between Elano and Petrov which ended in the latter driving the ball past Niemi.

    Fulham could have been deflated by that, but instead they were roused as this free-flowing and often scintillating game took another twist. This time it was Fulham's turn to score following a long kick forward from Niemi that culminated in Seol-Ki Hyeon heading the ball on towards Danny Murphy, who coolly slotted the ball beyond Schmeichel. There were chants for both sides to snatch a late win with a nerve-racking four minutes of stoppage time. But the match ended level. 'I'm not sure how to feel,' said Sanchez.

    Fulham: Niemi, Baird, Bocanegra, Hughes, Konchesky, Bouazza (Ki-Hyeon 67), Smertin, Davies (Kamara 46), Davis, Healy (Murphy 67), Dempsey.
    Subs Not Used: Keller, Stefanovic.

    Booked: Bocanegra, Dempsey, Konchesky.

    Goals: Davies 13, Bouazza 48, Murphy 75.

    Man City: Schmeichel, Corluka, Richards, Dunne, Garrido, Ireland (Jihai 83), Hamann, Johnson, Petrov, Elano (Geovanni 80), Mpenza (Bianchi 80).
    Subs Not Used: Hart, Ball.

    Booked: Richards, Hamann.

    Goals: Petrov 36, Mpenza 50, Petrov 60.

    Att: 24,674

    Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

    Manchester City 1 Aston Villa 0     Second Spot for City
    Sunday 16th September 2007 : Stewart Simms at the COMSTAD for GYKO

    Manchester City moved up to second in the Premier League thanks to Michael Johnson's terrific run and shot. Johnson lit up an otherwise lacklustre encounter when he drove through the Villa defence and slotted a low drive under goalkeeper Scott Carson.

    The visitors had enough chances to level with John Carew wasting a close-range header and Martin Laursen doing likewise from two corners. Villa dominated after the goal and, despite a late siege, failed to level.

    The win means City maintain their 100% home record this season and keep their clean sheet run at Eastlands. Villa, though, miss the chance to add to their back-to-back victories and remain in mid-table.

    Both teams had already claimed the scalps of big sides this season, City beating Manchester United and Villa seeing off Chelsea.

    But the calibre of those performances were missing at Eastlands.

    An insipid first half did manage to provide enough chances for both sides to break the deadlock, but a lack of composure in and around the box ensured the score remained goalless at the break.

    City's Vedran Corluka ghosted into space and lashed a 25-yard drive narrowly wide on 10 minutes, while Vassell saw a deft flick-on whistle wide from a Martin Petrov free-kick.

    Kasper Schmeichel endured many nervy moments in the City goal, particularly from crosses, and his poor decision-making was almost punished when Gabriel Agbonlahor skipped past him and scuffed wide from a tight angle.

    The best chance of the first period fell to City who should have punished Laursen's ponderous defending.
    The dangerous Blumer Elano reacted quickest to the Dane's failed clearance and played in Johnson who was denied by Carson who blocked the snap-shot with his face.

    The quality improved after the break and a moment of class and desire from the superb Johnson put the hosts ahead on 48 minutes. The 19-year-old midfielder drove at the heart of the Villa defence after being put through by Elano and fired a tremendous low effort beneath Carson. Villa should have responded immediately with the off-key Carew glancing his close-range header wide when it looked easier to score.

    Indeed, the visitors were wasteful throughout with Laursen squandering headers from fine positions from Gareth Barry corners.

    City, content on preserving their lead, sat back for much of the second half and rarely ventured into Carson's box.

    But despite Villa's domination, they failed to provide the spark to unlock the City back line.

    Man City: Schmeichel, Onuoha, Richards, Corluka, Garrido, Vassell (Jihai 64), Johnson, Hamann, Petrov, Mpenza (Bianchi 85), Elano (Ball 83).
    Subs Not Used: Hart, Gelson.

    Booked: Jihai.

    Goals: Johnson 48.

    Aston Villa: Carson, Mellberg, Laursen, Knight, Bouma (Gardner 82), Agbonlahor, Reo-Coker (Petrov 82), Barry, Young, Carew (Maloney 66), Moore.
    Subs Not Used: Taylor, Davies.

    Booked: Moore.

    Att: 38,363

    Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

  • Blackburn Rovers 1 Manchester City 0       Reality Check!!
    Sunday 2nd September 2007 : Ken Gaunt at Ewood Park for Get Your Kits Out

    Benni McCarthy maintained Blackburn's bright start to the season with his first Barclays Premier League goal of the campaign.The South African's strike was enough to give Mark Hughes' side the edge against City in a rousing encounter.

    Both sides finished with 10 men. Blackburn midfielder Tugay was sent off, as was City skipper Richard Dunne.Not that it was a dirty game - far from it - just hugely competitive at rain-lashed Ewood Park.

    While Rovers extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches stretching back to last season, City have lost two in succession in the league without scoring. McCarthy made the breakthrough in the 13th minute when David Bentley swung in a corner from the left that was met by Christopher Samba at the far post. He picked out Roque Santa Cruz, only for Kasper Schmeichel to parry his header straight into the path of McCarthy, who scored from close range. It was the South African striker's first league goal of the season to add to his two in the Intertoto Cup. He scored 24 in all competitions last term.

    Blackburn almost extended their lead when David Dunn got on the end of a Bentley free-kick only to head over the bar. Then Stephen Warnock found Santa Cruz at the back post but Schmeichel got a good hand to the ball. Blackburn were dominating the game and Bentley was showing why he had been called up into the England squad.

    City supporters had something to cheer when Emile Mpenza won a free-kick off Brett Emerton. Elano, though, sent his effort into the wall.

    Blackburn almost added a second in first-half stoppage-time when Bentley picked out Morten Gamst Pedersen but the Norwegian's effort was blocked by the goalkeeper. Santa Cruz then got on the end of a through ball from McCarthy in the 50th minute. It seemed a clear chance but the Paraguay international got the ball stuck under his feet, much to City's relief.

    Man City hit back and won a free-kick 20 yards out in the 53rd minute. Brazilian midfielder Elano took it, only to send his effort narrowly wide of the post.

    Blackburn were reduced to 10 men in the 55th minute when Tugay was sent off after picking up two yellow cards in two minutes. The Turkish playmaker was dismissed for challenges on Mpenza and Dietmar Hamann.

    City immediately raised the tempo and Blackburn boss Hughes took action by drafting in defender Andre Ooijer after 63 minutes for McCarthy. However, Sven-Goran Eriksson's side went down to 10 men in the 65th minute when skipper Dunne was sent off after a lunge on Santa Cruz.

    Samba should have at least hit the target two minutes later after Pedersen swung in a corner but sent a free header high over the bar. It was clear chance, with little to choose between the teams.

    Blackburn were carving out the better chances and Emerton raced away in the 72nd minute but Schmeichel parried the ball to safety. Two minutes later, Emerton delivered a good ball into the area and found Pedersen. However, he tried to be too elaborate and sent a weak lob from close range into the arms of the goalkeeper.

    Hughes sent on Matt Derbyshire for Santa Cruz with four minutes remaining. While he was unable to extend their lead, the Blackburn supporters went home happy after another positive display from the team.


    Blackburn Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Bentley,Savage (Kerimoglu 17), Dunn, Pedersen,Santa Cruz (Derbyshire 86), McCarthy (Ooijer 63).

    Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Roberts.

    Sent Off: Kerimoglu (54).

    Booked: Dunn, Kerimoglu, Pedersen, Bentley, Samba.

    Goals: McCarthy 13.

    Man City Schmeichel, Corluka, Richards, Dunne, Garrido,Ireland (Onuoha 70), Johnson (Mpenza 32), Hamann,Petrov (Geovanni 76), Elano, Bianchi.

    Subs Not Used: Hart, Ball.

    Sent Off: Dunne (65).

    Booked: Dunne.

    Att: 26,881

    Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).


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