Barclay’s English Premiership
Saturday 25 April 2009, 15:00 KO
City: Given, Richards (Gelson 57), Dunne (c), Onuoha, Bridge, Kompany, de Jong, Ireland, Elano (Evans 88), Robinho, Caicedo (Petrov 84)
Unused: Hart, Bojinov, Garrido, Berti
Goals: Robinho (35), Ireland (53)
Booked: Onuoha, Elano
City Man of the Match: Robinho
City were without an away win since August from their trip to the Stadium of Light, and even the most optimistic of City fans wouldn’t have been expecting to go away from fifth placed Everton with more than a point. But City aren’t ever likely to do what’s expected.
The first action of the game saw Robinho finding his feet, and workihis way into the box, with a series of stopovers. He skipped past Hibbert and then looked to be felled by Leon Osman, but the referee said play on.
Everton began to take control of possession, but they failed to put City under pressure, with a corner coming to nothing.
Then Kompany found Robinho on the left and, after some more stopovers from the Brazilian, he found de Jong, who skied his shot with his right foot. Replays suggested he perhaps had more time than he thought and maybe he should have had a go with his weaker, left foot.
Shay Given was alert to take command in his area, catching several crosses from deep, before he was able to make a comfortable save after Louis Saha shot from a tight angle.
Tim Howard was the busier of the two keepers in the first half, with him having to save a Robinho shot that was fiercely hit towards his goal. The chance came after a pull back was poorly cleared to Elano on the penalty spot and his shot deflected to his Brazilian team-mate.
The home side were then grateful for Leighton Baines’s last gasp tackle, as Robinho played Ireland in on a one-on-one. The full back, though, came out of nowhere to dispossess Ireland, before he could get his shot away.
But then, on 35 minutes, City took the lead. Everton were given a free kick, midway in City’s half and, after Dunne headed clear, Robinho raced on to a long pass over the top, took the ball into the box and slid it through Howard’s legs, from the left hand side of the six yard box.
Everton then tried to get back on level terms, but the best effort the home side could muster was a Louis Saha header, after some neat build-up, but it was five yards wide of Given’s goal and City took an away lead into the half time break.
Everton began the second half the stronger, forcing a corner, but it came to nothing. Given then made the save of the day from Fellaini, after the ball was fed into the big Belgian’s feet and he flicked it up and volleyed on the turn. Somehow, though, Given was able to push the ball over the bar.
But City stunned the home crowd into silence, not long after. A ball out of defence found Caicedo on the break and the Ecuadorian gave the ball to Robinho on the left, who expertly found Stephen Ireland, racing into the Everton box unmarked. The Irishman took a touch, and placed the ball past the on-rushing Howard for 0-2.
Richards had to leave the field injured, and minutes after David Moyes gambled and made three substitutions, Phil Jagielka slipped awkwardly and had to be stretchered off, leaving the home side up against it.
Everton were taking more possession, but still struggling to create chances and Robinho nearly made them pay, after skipping three challenges on his run from midfield, but his shot was knocked for a corner by Tim Howard’s feet.
Richard Dunne rose well to flick an Everton free kick just wide of Given’s post, and, on the breakaway, Stephen Ireland found Robinho, whose left footed shot clipped the outside of the post, with Howard grasping at thin air.
Mark Hughes was then furious to see the referee award seven minutes of added time, and in the fifth of those added minutes, Dan Gosling left City hearts in City mouths as he beat Shay Given with a left footed drive into the top right corner of the goal.
But Everton couldn’t muster another shot on target and the game finished 1-2, City finding a cure for their travel sickness at Goodison Park.