Barclay’s English Premiership
Sunday 24 May 2009, 16:00 KO
City: Given, Richards, Dunne (c), Onuoha, Bridge (Berti 83), Kompany (Zabaleta 82), de Jong, Ireland (Weiss 70), Wright-Phillips, Robinho, Caicedo
Unused: Hart, Petrov, Bojinov, Benjani
Goals: Caicedo (8)
City Man of the Match: Nedum Onuoha
City’s day started with Gerard Wiekens, Gareth Taylor, Tony Vaughan, Andy Morrison and Paul Dickov making an entrance to the City of Manchester stadium to remember the team’s excellent comeback in the 1999 playoff final.
And the game started brightly, with Shaun Wright-Phillips shooting straight at Jaaskelainen, after wriggling free in the box. But the home fans didn’t have to wait long for the ball to hit the net.
Robinho was felled outside the area and his run up to the resulting free-kick suggested a shot. But instead, he passed to Ireland, who chipped for Richards and the full back pulled out the acrobatics to cross for Caicedo to slot into the empty net.
From the restart, Wright-Phillips tested Jaaskelainen with a curling effort from range. It looked destined for the top corner, but for the keeper’s fingertips.
Caicedo then picked up a loose ball in his own half and, with little in the way of support, he headed straight for the Bolton box. After working his way to the by-line, he crossed low, but there was nobody there to finish. Ireland picked up the ball just to the right side of the box and set up Robinho, who smashed a shot against the post.
Robinho pulled out a backheel from a lying down position to set up Richards, but the full back was denied by Jaaskelainen, minutes before the City defender cleared from Gary Cahill off the goal-line.
The second half started worryingly for City, as Muamba had a free header in the box, but he chose to nod it back across goal, rather than at goal and it bounced for a corner to the visitors. Matt Taylor then had an invitation to shoot, but it was well off target.
With 12 minutes to go, Jaaskelainen had to be alert to tip a dipping and deflected Shaun Wright-Phillips effort over the bar.
Then, the City fans got to see their new cult hero. The biggest cheer of the day was saved for Glauber Berti joining the action in place of Wayne Bridge. Every one of his touches on his debut was greeted with a massive roar from the crowd.
It was a solid win for City on their last day of the season. The one-nil margin perhaps not reflecting the home side’s domination, but nevertheless, it was three more points and saw City finish tenth in the Premier League.