UEFA Cup Round of 32, Leg Two
Thursday 26 February 2009, 19:45 KO
City: Given, Richards, Dunne (c), Onuoha, Bridge, Zabaleta (Elano 82), Kompany, Ireland, Robinho, Wright-Phillips, Bellamy
Unused: Hart, Garrido, Vassell, Evans, Berti, Caicedo
Goals: Bellamy (73, 80)
City Man of the Match: Robinho
With two away goals from Denmark, City were in good shape to progress to the last 16 of the UEFA Cup. But, nevertheless, they needed to be on their toes because a København victory would still have seen the visitors go through.
And it was København who started the brighter, having a large amount of possession, but not especially troubling Shay Given. City were trying to hit the visitors on the break, but Bellamy was flagged offside twice in quick succession.
Some good defensive play by Dunne and build-up from Wright-Phillips and Robinho, left Bridge with the opportunity to cross on the overlap, on 15 minutes. But, he centre just missed both Bellamy and Ireland in the box.
A minute later, Zabaleta played the ball into Robinho’s feet and the Brazilian returned it immediately, giving the Argentinian the chance to shoot from a narrow angle. Zabaleta chose to go with the outside of his right foot and it was a comfortable save for Christiansen.
Bellamy then broke down the right and his deflected cross sat up for Robinho to head at goal. The Brazilian was all ready to celebrate, but Christiansen had other ideas, getting both hands up to claw it off the line.
Robinho then got a shot away with his left foot, after beating two players to get into the box. The ball appeared to strike the second on the arm, but it fell back to the Brazilian, whose shot was pushed wide by the København keeper.
It was then the away side’s turn to shout for a penalty, when N’Doye went down under a challenge from Richard Dunne, but the referee waved play on.
Zabaleta and Robinho both had shots from range that were easily swallowed up by Christiansen, before Robinho played Bellamy through on goal and the Welsh forward’s chip beat the keeper and looked to be on its way in. But it clipped the inside of the post and bounced clear.
København started the second half the stronger, with Almeida curling an effort just over Given’s crossbar after some neat build-up play, before Bellamy had a free kick from 20 yards comfortably saved by Christiansen.
Then, after Richard Dunne needed treatment after an accidental clash with Almeida, City should have taken the lead. Wright-Phillips found himself through on goal from a Robinho pass, but, instead of taking the shot the crowd wanted to see, the little winger chose to pass the ball to Ireland, who couldn’t quite stretch to slide the ball into the net.
But it didn’t matter in the end, as, with 73 minutes on the clock, City took the lead. Zabaleta dinked the ball over the top towards Bellamy and the striker’s pace allowed him to get around the defender, who couldn’t get enough on the ball to get it back to the keeper, and slot the ball into the net.
And soon after, Robinho set up the striker for his second of the night. Given played a quick ball downfield to Robinho, who managed to take the ball down and work his way into the box. He squared it and found Bellamy, who found the top corner with his left foot.
Bellamy was in the right place at the right time, soon after, clearing off the line, before Almeida shot wide from a Sionko cross.
Bellamy almost had his hat-trick with just minutes to go, when Robinho got into the box on the left, once again, and pull the ball all the way back to him, but the Welshman’s shot was charged down.
City could have had a third, when some neat interplay between Elano, Robinho and Ireland finished with Robinho with the ball at his feet in the six yard box. The Brazilian tried to tuck the ball inside the near post, but it clipped the outside of the goal and went behind for a goal kick.
With just seconds to go, City lost their clean sheet. Martin Vingaard found himself with time and space outside City’s box and drove a low, hard shot past Shay Given and into the corner of the goal. But with over two of the three added minutes played, it wasn’t enough for København.
City progress to the last 16 of the UEFA Cup, where they will face Aalborg and their third trip to Denmark in the competition. Results elsewhere meant also that City will be the only English team left in this year’s competition.