FA Cup Fourth Round
Sunday 24 January 2010, 16:00 KO
City: Taylor, Onuoha, Boyata, Kompany, Sylvinho, De Jong (c) (Cunningham 45), Ireland (Zabaleta 66), Ibrahim, Robinho (Bellamy 85), Petrov, Benjani
Unused: Nielsen, Richards, Barry, Wright-Phillips
Goals: Petrov (3), Onuoha (45), Sylvinho (57), Robinho (84)
Booked: Sylvinho, Cunningham
Referee: Kevin Friend
Man of the Match: Martin Petrov
With a Carling Cup semi-final second leg on his mind, Roberto Mancini’s team selection could have left some City fans feeling uneasy, with a selection that wasn’t City’s strongest available.
The first action of the game saw Stuart Taylor collect a loose ball in the area. Following his distribution, City kept the ball well and worked it via Benjani and Ireland to Robinho. After a step-over, he found Petrov, who ran into the box and thumped it into the top corner, giving the visitors the lead in the early moments.
Some neat interplay between Ireland, Robinho and Ibrahim almost put Benjani in, but Murphy was on hand to collect. City were looking comfortable in possession and Scunthorpe were looking nervy.
Scunthorpe then had their first effort on goal after 10 minutes from Woolford from range and it had Taylor scurrying to his post, but it flashed just wide of his post. Woolford had another chance to shoot three minutes later, but he couldn’t get past Boyata.
Williams then broke from midfield and received the pass from Woolford, just before the quarter of the hour mark, and Ibrahim put it out for a corner with an excellent tackle. There was chaos in the City box as first Scunthorpe hit the bar and then knocked the ball wide from three yards.
Just after 21 minutes, some neat play from City on the left flank sent the ball across to Petrov who shaped to shoot. Instead, he played a nice reverse pass to Onuoha, but it was just too far ahead and he had to stretch to get his shot away and it end up over the bar.
A Scunthorpe corner could have been disastrous for the home side, as Ireland broke quickly with Robinho to his right and Petrov to his left. He chose Robinho and the Brazilian’s shot was straight at Joe Murphy.
After some good pressure from Robinho and Petrov, Scunthorpe conceded a throw-in by their own box. Some neat passing play then let Benjani in, who found Petrov and his curling effort was comfortably saved by the goalkeeper.
A poor decision from the linesman then allowed Scunthorpe back into the game. Hayes, standing in an offside position, received a high ball over the defence and finished excellently past Taylor. On the balance of play, it was deserved, but the flag should have gone up.
With 40 minutes on the clock, Robinho worked the ball well with Benjani and Slyvinho and got himself into a shooting position, but he skied it when aiming for the top corner.
Just before half time, Petrov did well to control an interception from de Jong, before sending Ireland clear. He looked for Benjani and the block tackle left Robinho with a shooting chance, but it was lame and straight at Murphy.
Seconds before the half time whistle, and Ibrahim cross was nodded as far as de Jong, who found Stephen Ireland and he played a delightful ball over to Onuoha. The academy graduate then slotted the ball coolly under Murphy and gave City the lead. Ireland could have increased it after some nice play with Petrov, but his curling effort didn’t curl enough.
The first action of the second half saw the youngster Cunningham, on for Nigel de Jong, see yellow for a misjudged challenge – jumping to head the ball, but missing – and it seemed very harsh. Boyata was at hand to clear the resulting free kick.
With 50 minutes on the clock, Scunthorpe took a short corner, which was nodded away well by Kompany, before Thomson smashed an effort at goal, but it was well over the bar and didn’t trouble Taylor. Two minutes later, Taylor had to be alert to excellently tip a Togwell shot over the bar from long range and then collect the resulting corner.
Some neat play between Petrov and Robinho allowed the Bulgarian to get a shot in, soon after, from roughly the same place as he scored his third minute goal. But, this time, it was wide of the post.
But then City extended their lead. Ireland set Petrov racing free and, at the second attempt, he found Sylvinho in some space in the centre of the pitch and he unleashed an unstoppable drive from 30 yards, straight over Murphy and into the back of the net.
A free kick on the edge of City’s box presented Scunthorpe with a chance to pull one back immediately, but from Ireland’s clearance, Thomson fired his shot well over the bar.
Just after the hour mark, a mistake in the Scunthorpe defence allowed Petrov in to shoot, but he dragged his shot wide of the post, before a goalmouth scramble saw Ibrahim’s shot blocked on the line, before Murphy was able to save both rebounds, both fired in by Robinho.
Just before the clock ticked to 70 minutes, a long throw into the City box was flicked on and bounced onto Boyata. It wrong-footed Taylor and rolled into the far corner and Scunthorpe were back in the game.
A Scunthorpe free kick was well cleared by Onuoha as Jones looked to be fouling Boyata, before Robinho stole the ball in the City box to clear the danger from a long throw in. Woolford then tried a neat flick from a second cross, but it rolled wide of Taylor’s post.
With ten minutes to go, Petrov had an excellent curling effort from the edge of the box well saved by Murphy, while Boyata headed the resulting corner wide with nobody on the post.
With six minutes left to go, Robinho popped up with his first goal of the season. A neat passing move left Sylvinho to find Petrov who flicked the ball on to the Brazilian and he slotted the ball over Murphy and into the net.
Bellamy and Petrov then combined to nearly fashion another chance for the Bulgarian, and, a minute later, a quick exchange of passes saw Bellamy heading to the by-line, but his pull back was just behind Benjani and the Scunthorpe defence cleared.
City were in the pot for the next round and it wasn’t as easy as perhaps some people had expected. It took four great goals from the visitors to win the game in the end, and credit must go to the home side who should be proud of their achievement.