Europa League Group Stage, Group A
Thursday 16 September 2010, 18.00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, K Touré, Bridge (Boyata 67), de Jong, Barry, Y Touré, Silva (Wright-Phillips 83), Jo, Tevez (c) (Vieira 78)
Unused: Given, Richards, Milner, A Johnson
Goals: Silva (8), Jo (63)
Booked: Kolo Touré
Referee: Georgios Daloukas
Man of the Match: David Silva
City’s first group game of the Europa League for this season took them to Austria and to Red Bull Salzburg. And it was the visitors who began with the early pressure, after some good possession around the home side’s box from a series of corners.
And that pressure soon paid off. With only eight minutes on the clock, Bridge picked the ball up on the left wing and crossed it in for Jo. He touched it back to David Silva, who stroked the ball into the net with his right foot coolly.
With 13 minutes gone, Salzburg had their first chance to launch a long throw-in into the City box. It was dealt with well by Kolo Touré, who got up well to head behind for a corner before any forward could get a flick.
Soon after, it took another great tackle from Kolo Touré to deny Boghossian, before Tevez wriggled his way into the box to force an awkward save from Tremmel, who was only able to hold the shot at the second attempt.
Just before the half hour, City had to be alert to defend well from two Salzburg corners. The first was nodded away by Jo, before the second allowed a miscued shot from Sekagya, who sliced the ball down into the ground and it bounced up and onto the top of Joe Hart’s crossbar.
Ten minutes before the break, David Silva should have doubled his goals tally and City’s lead. Tevez did well to hold the ball up while Silva broke into the box unmarked. The Argentinean found the Spaniard, but Silva chose not to shoot with his right foot and cut back inside, allowing the goalkeeper time to re-adjust and pull off an excellent save from the City midfielder’s shot.
Salzburg could have gone in level at the break but for an excellent Vincent Kompany block tackle, as he reacted well to a flick from a corner and put his foot in the way of the shot and get the ball clear.
In contrast to the first half, it was the home side who started the better after the break. Kolo Touré talked himself into the book after he gave away a free kick on the edge of the City box, which Pokrivak fired just wide.
Yaya Touré then played a great ball into Jo, but the Brazilian’s touch off his chest ran away from him and the Tremmel was off his line quickly to smother the ball, before Jo could get a strike in on goal.
With an hour gone, Jo doubled City’s lead with his first goal since September 2008. Tevez worked an opening for himself from just outside the box and he fired a fierce shot at the Salzburg goal. Tremmel could only parry it and Jo was on hand to get to the rebound first and knock it back across goal for 0-2.
The goal virtually killed the game, with City continuing to dominate possession and play keep-ball and the heads of the Salzburg players dropped. Though, the home side should have pulled a goal back almost immediately from a low cross across Joe Hart’s six yard box, but nobody could get a touch.
Tevez went close with another self-fashioned effort on 68 minutes, before Kompany got up well to head clear a rare attack from the home side. Yaya Touré then flashed a low ball across the Salzburg box and it just needed a touch from Barry, but the England midfielder tried to take it on his favoured left foot and couldn’t make contact.
City were content to see the game out with some neat possession and, with Juventus only able to draw with Lech Poznan at home, it is the blues that top the Europa League Group A table.