Manchester City 2 Hamburg 1

UEFA Cup Quarter Final, Leg Two
Thursday 16 April 2009, 19:45 KO

City: Given, Richards, Dunne (c), Onuoha, Bridge, Zabaleta (Gelson 75), Kompany, Ireland, Elano (Sturridge 84), Robinho, Caicedo
Unused: Hart, Garrido, Logan, Petrov, Evans
Goals: Elano (pen 17), Caicedo (50)
Booked: Dunne, Kompany
Sent Off: Dunne
City Man of the Match: Elano

City began the game with a packed stadium of fans waving flags and inflatable bananas. Everybody knowing City needed to score at least twice to get to the UEFA Cup Semi Finals, but knowing that a goal for the visitors and three were needed just to force extra time.

City were trying to get going from the off and they forced the first chance of the game for Micah Richards after some neat work by Elano and Zabaleta. Richards, however, lost his footing before he could pull the trigger and the ball ran through to the keeper.

But City’s task became immediately harder when the visitors got an away goal. Pitroipa crossed to Olic, who was able to hold off Dunne before he found Guerrero. Guerrero slid the ball past Given, as the keeper rushed out and Kompany threw himself at it, but couldn’t get a block in.

Dunne was then booked for a foul right in front of Mark Hughes, perhaps harshly, as it was his first foul of the game.

City, though, responded well. Five minutes later, Elano picked up the ball on the edge of the box and sent a cross in. It struck Trochowski on the arm and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Elano himself stepped up and he scored the penalty.

Elano was beginning to get into the game and, from his neat ball over to Ireland, who was making a late dash into the box, City hit the side netting.

Hamburg, though, were always dangerous on the break, with Trochowski forcing Given to concede a corner with a good save, before Dunne blocked Mathijsen’s header.

As the clock hit 40 minutes, Caicedo volleyed wide when he had more time than he realised, before he was almost able to convert Robinho’s low cross, but Rost was there to dive at his feet and smother the ball quickly.

A minute later, Robinho was hauled down about 30 yards out and Elano was first on the scene to plant the ball down for the free kick. And the Brazilian was unfortunate not to have had his second of the night, when he struck through the ball, only to see it fly over the wall and crash into the crossbar, with the keeper beaten.

The first action of the second half saw City get themselves their second goal. Richards was initially in an offside position, but the ball was cut out before it reached him. It landed at Ireland’s feet, who played it in to Caicedo, who switched it from his right to his left foot, before slotting it past Rost.

40 minutes to go and City needed one more goal. And for most of the game, it looked like it was coming. On 54 minutes, Elano hit another free kick from the left hand side of the box, beating Rost again, only to see it rebound off the post and be cleared for a corner.

From the resulting corner, he shot directly at the goal, Rost flapped at it and it landed to Caicedo’s feet, but the big Ecuadorian skied it when it seemed easier to score. Replays, though, showed it came at him quickly and he was unfortunate to have missed.

Zabaleta then had a go from outside the box, but it was a comfortable save for Rost, who must have been wondering what had hit him.

Robinho got onto the end of a delightful chip from Elano and, after deft control, he attempted to pass the ball past the keeper, but Rost was able to block with his foot. Then, a minute later, Caicedo raced through from an Ireland pass, rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home, only to see the linesman’s flag in the air for an offside.

On 69 minutes, Robinho stole the ball from the goalkeeper and hit the post from a narrow angle, but it wouldn’t have mattered as the referee decided his challenge on Rost was a foul.

Then, with 15 minutes to go, City’s task got harder. Richard Dunne was shown a second yellow card for a foul by the right side of City’s box, with replays showing he was unlucky to have been booked. However, having already being shown a yellow card, there had been several fouls where he was fortunate not to have seen red.

For a while, Hamburg were on top, dominating possession, while City struggled to come to terms with having ten men. Olic must have thought he has won the game for the visitors, but Given’s foot came out of nowhere to save his stabbed shot.

Then City began to press for an equaliser. Richards volleyed over after a neat one-two with Robinho, before Gelson Fernandes skied a shot from the edge of the box.

With a minute to go, substitute Sturridge shot wide and, in the first of four added minutes, Richards worked hard to win a corner that saw Given join the attack. Robinho’s cross, however, missed everyone, before Caicedo shot well over.

Replays suggested that City were unfortunate not to be rewarded with a second penalty, when Onuoha’s shirt was pulled during the corner and he was hauled over in the box.

The game ended after Olic was chopped down by Ireland and Hamburg were able to see City off by holding the ball by the corner flag.

City won the game on the night, but lost the tie overall. They were extremely unfortunate to go out of Europe in this manner, and perhaps deserved at least a crack at Hamburg in extra time, if not to win. But it was a respectable defeat and City went out with a fight.

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