Portsmouth 0 Manchester City 1

Barclay’s English Premiership
Sunday 30 August 2009, 13:30 KO

City: Given, Richards (Zabaleta 59), Lescott, Toure (c), Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Ireland (de Jong 75), Barry, Bellamy, Tevez, Adebayor
Unused: Taylor, Onuoha, Petrov, Weiss, Robinho
Goals: Adebayor (30)
Booked: Zabaleta

Referee: Howard Webb
Man of the Match: Gareth Barry

With two victories under their belt this season, City were confident going into this game, especially as the home side were yet to win a point. Though the fans were concerned it would have been typical City for that to all change today. But typical City aren’t being too typical this season.

City’s visit to the south coast started well, with Tevez chasing down the ball across the Portsmouth back line. He won it and it fell to Wright-Phillips, but the winger’s cross was cut out.

On 10 minutes, Portsmouth wasted the best chance of the game, as Piquionne beat City’s offside trap and went one-on-one with Shay Given. But the Irish keeper didn’t even need to make the save, as the Portsmouth man hit the side netting with a volley.

On 14 minutes, the Begovic flapped at a cross and Richards looked like he was going to knock it into the empty net, but the goalkeeper recovered his mistake well to get a hand on his prod forward.

With 20 minutes gone, Bellamy was sent clear by Adebayor, as a Portsmouth free-kick hit the wall, but the Welsh forward couldn’t quite catch up with his touch and Begovic got down well to his feet.

Former City-man Michael Brown endeared himself to the away fans by chopping at Stephen Ireland and managing not to pick up a yellow card. But City didn’t rise to it and won a corner seconds later.

And from the resulting corner, Barry’s cross was met by the head of Adebayor and the ball powered its way past Begovic and into the net to give City the lead with 30 minutes on the clock.

Nine minutes later, and it should have been 2-0. Gareth Barry was flagged offside from a Bellamy low smash across goal, but the ball didn’t reach him as Richards put it in, with his England colleague not interfering with play.

The second half began where the first left off, with City in control of the game. Michael Brown first had a shot charged down, before he handled the ball and chose not to hear the referee’s whistle, deciding to run an extra 30 yards and put the ball past a stationary Shay Given.

Just after the hour mark, Adebayor nipped past three players right infront of the City fans and his shot was well saved by Begovic from a tight angle. Second viewing showed Gareth Barry a few yards away and free in the box, but the big man decided to take the shot on instead.

Then there was a scare for City. Lescott gave the ball away, but Zabaleta was back in time to cut out the resulting cross. Kaboul then had a chance to shoot from about 20 yards, and his shot was just wide of the post, with Given throwing himself at his top right corner.

With 15 minutes to go, Adebayor tried to set Barry up, but the England midfielder got the ball caught under his feet and wasn’t able to get his shot away.

Zabaleta then picked up a yellow card for his first foul – with the City fans confused as to why he was booked, but Brown wasn’t – and from the resulting free-kick, Richard Hughes had a chance but he fired well over from inside the box.

Portsmouth defender Vanden Borre was then lucky not to give away a penalty, when he shoved Adebayor in the back in the box, but the referee didn’t see it and played on.

With minutes to go, first Shaun Wright-Phillips forged a shooting chance on the City right, but his shot was wide and into the fans, before substitute David Nugent had an excellent chance for 1-1. But the one-time capped Englishman fired the ball into the ground and Given pulled off a match-winning save.

Portsmouth then had a half-hearted shout for a penalty turned down, when Utaka wanted handball, before City had another penalty appeal turned down. Tevez chased down a long punt into the Portsmouth box and appeared to have the better of Vanden Borre, until he was pulled to the ground. But the referee waved play on and, a minute later, blew for full time.

City come away from the south coast with three points for the first time in a few seasons and it was a hard-fought victory, perhaps harder than it should have been given City’s chances. But, nevertheless, it’s nine points, three wins and three clean sheets from three games and no complaints from the travelling fans.

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