Barclay’s English Premiership
Saturday 1 May 2010, 15:00 KO
City: Fülöp, Zabaleta, Touré (c), Kompany, Bridge, de Jong, Vieira, A Johnson (Wright-Phillips 80), Bellamy, Adebayor, Tevez (Richards 88)
Unused: Nielsen, Garrido, Sylvinho, Onuoha, Santa Cruz
Goals: Tevez (pen 41), Adebayor (43), Bellamy (89)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Man of the Match: Vincent Kompany
City started the game the brighter, pressing Aston Villa from the off, but unable to force any real chances. Johnson and Zabaleta combined neatly down the right, but it came to nothing thanks to Collins’s head, before de Jong had an effort from range roll tamely into Friedel’s hands.
With 11 minutes gone, a Bellamy effort resulted in a City corner from a deflection, but it came to nothing, despite a series of home flag kicks.
Despite City’s pressure, it was the visitors who opened the scoring. Carew ran on to a through ball from Downing, getting away from Touré and getting his shot in. Touré should probably have blocked it, but he didn’t and it went through Fülöp’s legs and into the net.
Another series of City corners then allowed Touré the chance to make amends, but his shot was tame and headed away, before Bridge’s effort from another corner was well charged down.
With 20 minutes gone, Johnson cut inside and had a pop from outside the box, but it bobbled well wide of Friedel’s goal, before Kompany looked unfortunate to pick up a yellow card, seemingly winning the ball from the oncoming Agbonlahor.
Just before the half hour, Zabaleta wanted a penalty when he went down in the box, but it was nothing doing from the referee, before Downing had Villa’s second meaningful attack of the game, firing a shot just wide of Fülöp’s goal.
Three minutes later, City had more appeals for a penalty. Tevez ran with the ball towards the edge of the box, before sidestepping Warnock and firing in a right footed shot. The full back blocked it, but he appeared to use his arms to do it, but the referee decided it was unintentional.
With 37 minutes gone, Vieira tried to play Adebayor through, but Collins just got his toe to the pass to make the clearance, otherwise the City man would have had a run on goal. Adebayor then tried an overhead kick cross, but there was nobody near it to connect.
Four minutes later, though, and City were on level terms. Warnock floored Adam Johnson in the box as the winger looked to go around the full back and Tevez stepped up to smash the resulting penalty under Friedel.
And, two minutes later, it got better. City broke, after Carew had hit the bar, and Johnson was played through on the right. He cut the ball back onto his left foot, rolled it back for Adebayor and the big forward found the net, via Friedel’s hand, to give City the lead at the break. It was no less than what City deserved.
The start of the second half was a much different affair. For all City’s domination in the first period, they couldn’t get their foot on the ball and the game became quite scrappy. Tevez was caught in possession and it took a Touré interception on a Richard Dunne run to stop the former City player getting a shot in.
Ten minutes into the half and Zabaleta was free on the edge of the box. Found by Tevez, he hit it first time and, after a deflection that left Friedel rooted to the spot, it looped just over the goal and onto the roof of the net.
Just before the hour, Young was free at the back post and, fortunately for City, messed up his attempt at a diving header and the ball bounced behind for a goal kick. It was a warning for the home side.
City were gifted another corner by Friedel just after the hour mark, when Tevez made a hash of a shot from the edge of the box and Friedel tipped it behind, despite it being well wide and having not taken a deflection. The corner, though, came to nothing.
With 65 minutes gone, Bellamy picked up the ball on the left wing and cut inside onto his right foot. It took a fine save from the visiting goalkeeper to deny him a goal, as his effort looked to curl into the net.
An excellent tackle from Kompany then kept Carew quiet, before his defensive partner Touré proved that it wasn’t just the Belgian who could do it, nipping in to stop a Villa breakaway.
With ten minutes to go, Kompany nodded wide from a corner, as City tried to kill the game off. It was getting tense and the City fans were feeling it, especially when Zabaleta had to rescue a poor clearance from Fülöp.
Tevez then had a shot blocked after Adebayor had been stopped in his track by Dunne, before Young over hit a cross to the back post and it went harmlessly out for a throw in.
Then, after a Villa corner where Fülöp had had to come and punch, City got their winner. The ball found its way to Wright-Phillips on the left and he skipped past two challenges at full speed to find Bellamy unmarked in the box. He took a touch and fired it into the top corner, leaving Friedel standing. He then ran straight for Mancini to celebrate with him – and these two don’t get on?!
It’s City against Spurs in midweek and if City can put on another similar performance, it could be an interesting final few days of the season.