Manchester City 3 Red Bull Salzburg 0

Europa League Group Stage, Group A
Wednesday 1 December 2010, 20.05 KO

City: Given, Boateng, Lescott, K Touré (c) (Richards 83), Zabaleta, Vieira, Milner, Wright-Phillips, A Johnson, Jo, Balotelli (Adebayor 71)
Unused: Hart, Kolarov, Barry, de Jong, Silva
Goals: Balotelli (18, 66), A Johnson (79)

Referee: Libor Kovarik
Man of the Match: James Milner

City started the game on top, taking the initiative and piling on the early pressure. The team knew that a victory should see them through to the knockout stages of the competition, providing Juventus didn’t win in Poland.

In the opening stages, a couple of Adam Johnson corners came to nothing, before Mario Balotelli cut inside from the left and fired a shot well over the bar from range.

With seven minutes gone, Wright-Phillips warmed the crowd up with a brilliant run and cross that needed an intervention from Schiemer to put it behind, before Jo got in to have certainly scored.

Zabaleta was denied a penalty shortly after, before Jo asked for the same when he went down whilst through on goal. But the referee gave neither and Jo should have done better to get an effort on goal fired off.

Vieira then put a fantastic ball through for Balotelli to chase into the box, but his shot was well saved by the legs of Tremmel, when the Italian could have looked for Jo square.

Soon enough, City got the reward their weight of pressure deserved. Zabaleta put a low ball into the box and Balotelli, from the penalty spot, cheekily flicked out a foot and directed it into the bottom corner of the goal.

Balotelli nearly doubled the lead soon after, after he got to the ball ahead of the onrushing Tremmel, but his flick over the goalkeeper’s head was off target. He managed to keep it in play, but couldn’t force it over the line.

Just before half time, Wright-Phillips had a snazzy turn and shot that troubled the visiting defence, before Milner almost had the ball in the net from the right side of the box, but his low drive was just wide of the post.

Straight after the break, City could have doubled their lead again. Wright-Phillips intercepted a shot pass and broke towards goal, but his low ball didn’t reach Jo in the box and Salzburg were, just about, able to clear.

Milner then found Balotelli on the inside right channel and the Italian’s cross towards Jo again didn’t reach its target, as City carried on where they had left off before the break.

Just after the hour mark, a low cross from Jo was blocked by an arm and he appealed for a penalty to the addition official behind the goal, but it was only a corner for the home side.

But, minutes later, it was 2-0. Adam Johnson won the box on the edge of the Salzburg box, before slipping Vieira through. The veteran scuffed his shot, but it broke to Balotelli at the back post and he drove it into the net.

With 15 minutes to go, Given was called into a rare moment of action as he was forced into a good save from range, before City added to their goals tally for the night.

Adam Johnson picked up the ball wide on the left and cut inside. After taking on and beating three men, he came face to face with the goalkeeper and, on his wrong foot, he found the bottom corner.

City saw out the game with Adebayor unlucky not to find the net from just inside the box, but it didn’t matter. A draw between Lech Poznan and Juventus saw City back on top of the group, needing a point in Turin to be sure of winning the group.

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