Barclay’s English Premiership
Sunday 18 October 2009, 16:00 KO
City: Given (c), Zabaleta, Lescott, Richards, Bridge, Wright-Phillips (Ireland 82), Barry, de Jong, Petrov, Tevez (Santa Cruz 82), Adebayor (Kompany 69)
Unused: Taylor, Johnson, Slyvinho, Weiss
Goals: Petrov (47)
Sent Off: Zabaleta
Referee: Alan Wiley
Man of the Match: Nigel de Jong
Mark Hughes brought a very different City team to the DW Stadium than he did last season, with City’s strength in depth showing through as Richards came in for Touré and Petrov was in for Bellamy.
And despite the early shots coming from the home side, it was City who started the stronger. N’Zogbia and Scharner both tried their luck, but both dragged their shots well wide of Given’s goal.
City were asking questions, though, as Petrov was found in the area by Tevez, but the Bulgarian couldn’t quite get his shot in. And that was just after Wayne Bridge’s cross was cut out at the last second.
De Jong was perhaps lucky to escape with just a talking to after he caught Paul Scharner on the ankle, just before Wright-Phillips set off fractionally too soon for a Tevez pass and was rightly flagged offside when through on goal.
Adebayor then had City’s best chance of the game so far, as he was set free in the area, but a combination of Kirkland and Bramble prevented the big forward from finding the net.
Pablo Zabaleta then showed what he was made off, not even flinching when he took a Rodallega scissor-kick shot to the face. Adebayor then tried to find Wright-Phillips in the box, but Melchiott was in the way to concede a corner.
On the half-hour, an excellent cross by Bridge was just too high for Adebayor and Tevez was unlucky at the back post, as he was ready to pull the trigger but a flick off the defender in front of him made sure he didn’t connect.
Pablo Zabaleta was then wrongly booked when he caught Figueroa, who looked to have made much more of the challenge than was actually there. It would prove costly for City later in the game.
Just before half time, Given, not tested much in the first half, was alert to palm a Rodallega’s long range drive to safety. Wigan then had a goal disallowed for a foul on Gareth Barry, as N’Zogbia raced onto a Scotland knock-down.
And as the teams were preparing to go in at 0-0, Wigan got the break they, perhaps, didn’t deserve. City switched off at the back, leaving room for a low shot-cum-cross from the left and Given could only parry to Charles N’Zogbia, who beat Bridge and slid the ball into the net.
But shortly into the second half, City were level. In fact, Wigan had had the early possession, but just over a minute in, Tevez worked hard down the right and knocked the ball inside. Wright-Phillips let it go and Petrov opened his body up and curled the ball past Kirkland.
Adebayor was then through in the area, but an excellent tackle from Bramble stopped him from getting a shot in. The ball fell to Wright-Phillips, who was free in the area, was unlucky to see his shot deflect off Adebayor and over the bar.
Just after the hour mark, Barry was unlucky when he was found at the back post by Petrov and Kirkland’s save from the midfielder’s header was just inches away from Adebayor, who would have had the simplest of finishes from four yards.
And then the game turned in favour of the hosts. An ill-advised and mistimed challenge from Pablo Zabaleta saw him see red, via a second yellow, and Mark Hughes was left furious at the Argentine’s first yellow card.
It got worse for City, who already had both Bridge and Lescott limping, when Adebayor had to leave the action through injury and Kompany came on to slot into the back four.
With 15 minutes to go, Wigan were pressing and had the ball in the net once again, but it was correctly ruled out for offside.
Despite the Wigan pressure, City were dealing with anything coming into the box – albeit just, at times – and were playing on the break. Wright-Phillips was denied a clear penalty when N’Zogbia went to ground and took none of the ball and all of the man.
Given then secured a point for City, after a good save at his near post, before closing down Jason Scotland quickly and deflecting his shot wide, after Richards could only get a slight touch on the cross under pressure.
In the end, it was a good point for City. Chelsea had gone to the DW Stadium and come away with nothing, so to stay in the match with 10 men and to have created chances to win the game will please Mark Hughes.