Carling Cup Quarter Final
Wednesday 2 December 2009, 19:45 KO
City: Given, Richards, Lescott, Touré (c), Bridge, Wright-Phillips (Weiss 77), Ireland, Barry, Bellamy, Adebayor, Tevez (Kompany 74)
Unused: Taylor, Onuoha, Johnson, Santa Cruz, Robinho
Goals: Tevez (49), Wright-Phillips (69), Weiss (89)
Booked: Bellamy, Kompany
Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the Match: Craig Bellamy
City went into this League Cup quarter final knowing they had their best chance in years of making a semi-final, with Arsenal playing the youngsters and the visitors already having been dispatched earlier in the season.
Arsenal kept the ball well from their kick-off, but the first chance of the game fell to the home side, with Wright-Phillips’s cross just evading Tevez and Adebayor in the box.
On either minutes, Barry took a right wing corner towards the former Arsenal man Adebayor, and, from his powerful header, Fabianski had to save and save well, with Lescott closing in for the rebound.
Nine minutes later and Arsenal’s best chance fell to Rosicky, when his free-kick from the left wing curled into the box and straight out at the back post, with Given knowing exactly where it was going. It had been all City so far and the Gunners were struggling for chances.
City then appealed for a penalty when Song bodychecked Bellamy in the box as the Welshman looked to dart past him to the by-line, but the referee said no, even though replays suggested it was a foul that could have warranted an indirect free kick in the area.
With 23 minutes on the clock, Vela spurned Arsenal’s best chance, firing over the bar under pressure from Lescott from eight yards, before Tevez brought a decent save out of Fabianski after running from the half-way line.
Ten minutes before half time and Eboué had the chance to put the visitors into the lead, but, after he skipped past several weak City challenges in the box, he fired straight at Given and the City keeper was able to hold.
The first action of the second half saw City take the lead. An attack on the wide left broke down, before some good work by Bellamy and Tevez saw the Argentine emerge with the ball. He stepped inside, round two challenges and fired towards the top corner. Leaving Fabianski stranded, the ball cannoned in off the underside of the bar.
Soon after, Bellamy bolted out of the midfield to chase onto a Lescott clearing header and square for an unmarked Adebayor in the centre, but Fabianski did enough to make sure that the former Gunner fired over on the stretch.
Then there was controversy. With Adebayor seemingly though on goal, Silvestre pulled him down and, with the crowd shouting for a red card, the referee deemed it not to have been a cynical nor a professional foul and only produced a yellow. Bellamy’s free-kick was easily saved by Fabianski.
On 68 minutes, Wright-Phillips doubled City’s lead. He broke with the ball from midfield and, with nothing in front of him, ran at Traore. Skipping to his right on the corner of the box, he fired a vicious drive into the top corner and it would have taken a lot for City not to progress from this stage onwards.
Ten minutes later and the was more confusion from referee Chris Foy. Song bodychecked Ireland, after the Irishman had done brilliantly to win possession and skip one tackle, as he was through on goal. Song was already heading for the tunnel, but the card was only yellow. The confusion was compounded more when Kompany picked up a yellow card for his first foul of the night, for holding on to a Gunner in the centre-circle.
Bellamy then joined the Belgian in the book for City, though this one was correct, as the City man chopped down Eboué on Arsenal’s right wing. The resulting free kick was easily dealt with by the City defence.
With three minutes to go, Fabianski stopped it becoming 3-0 with a fine save from Bellamy. The City forward found himself through on goal and, with a vicious drive with his left foot, aimed for the top corner, but the young keeper stuck out an arm to block it.
But, minutes later, it didn’t matter. Bellamy held up the ball on the half-way line, waiting for the Arsenal challenge. When it came, he skipped through two men to go through on goal and he looked up, before firing a low cross towards the backpost. And there was Vladimir Weiss for his first goal in a City shirt, in off the crossbar and he rounded off an excellent night for the blues.
Arsenal looked for a late consolation, as Merida hit the bar from just outside the box with a volley, but it was all for nothing, as City were comprehensive winners. Mark Hughes has guided City into their first cup semi-final in almost 30 years and the opposition: Manchester United. Hold on to your hats.