Barclay’s English Premiership
Sunday 11 April 2010, 16:00 KO
City: Given, Onuoha, Touré (c), Kompany, Garrido, Barry, de Jong, A Johnson (Cunningham 90+3), Bellamy (Wright-Phillips 81), Adebayor, Tevez (Santa Cruz 87)
Unused: Nielsen, Boyata, Ibrahim, Kay
Goals: Tevez (pen 38, 41), Onuoha (76), Adebayor (43, 88)
Referee: Phil Dowd
Man of the Match: Nedum Onuoha
City went into this game looking to cement their place in fourth spot, knowing that Liverpool and Tottenham would be breathing right down their necks if the result was anything less than a win.
And it was the home side that started the brighter, when de Jong was given a good opportunity to shoot from the edge of the box. But, the defensive midfielder isn’t known for his goals, and the resulting effort was well over the bar.
A minute later, Adebayor found the side netting after Tevez had slotted him through, before Tevez himself fired a shot over the bar. With 15 minutes gone, Adebayor poked an effort just wide of the far post as Taylor had come out to meet him, after Barry had nodded it on.
On the half hour, some neat one-twos from Tevez and Adebayor sliced Birmingham open, but City still couldn’t find a shot on target to trouble Taylor. But Scott Dann then gave City the perfect opportunity to open the scoring – by bringing down Adebayor in the box. Tevez stepped up and slotted the penalty home.
Three minutes later and City were further in front. A superb corner delivery from Johnson was just over Kompany, but Onuoha was there to dive and connect with his head. Tevez got the final touch, grazing the centre-back’s header into the net for his second of the game.
Birmingham, though, responded immediately. Jerome was left unmarked at the back post and, after he was picked out by McFadden, he was able to nod it into the net, past the despairing dive of Shay Given.
But, a minute later, City had their two goal cushion back. Barry lifted an excellent ball over the top for Bellamy, who open the taps to catch it before it went behind. His first time, low cross was met by Adebayor and he poked it into the empty net to round off a crazy five minutes.
The first chance of the second half fell to Adebayor. He connected viciously to Johnson’s free kick, but his effort was just wide of the post. Onuoha could then have had his second, as he headed over from a corner.
On the hour mark, Birmingham could have made it uncomfortable for the hosts, as Gardner sent a cross over and Given came and missed it. Jerome, though, was only able to head wide, under pressure from the Blues’ keeper.
Tevez could have had his second soon after as Bellamy chased down Roger Johnson, winning the ball. But, as the Argentinian should have squared for Adebayor, he stumbled as he went to shoot and the danger was over.
With 67 minutes on the clock, de Jong was fouled by Bowyer and Tevez stepped up to take the resulting free kick. He curled it over the wall and it looked destined for the top corner, until Taylor got across to concede the corner. Johnson took it and, at the second attempt, worked his way into the box excellently, but his cross was cleared.
With 73 minutes gone, Tevez found himself through once again, after stepping inside the defender and into the box. He got his shot in, but Taylor got down well to parry it and further frustrate the home fans.
But that frustration ended in the most unlikely of ways. Onuoha picked up the ball mid-way into the Birmingham half and carried it forward. He looked for Adebayor with the pass, but nobody responded and Onuoha himself was able to get on the end of it, hitting his shot into the bottom corner with his left foot.
With two minutes to go, Adebayor latched onto a City clearance after letting the ball bounce over his head. Just like with Burnley last week, he slotted the ball past the goalkeeper and it was City’s fifth of the game.
That made it 14 goals for City in the last three games and it’s derby day next weekend. The pressure is back on Tottenham and Liverpool in the race for fourth place.