Europa League Round of 16, Leg Two
Thursday 17 March 2011, 18.00 KO
City: Hart, Richards, Lescott, Kompany, Kolarov (Milner 89), de Jong, Barry (A Johnson 71), Y Touré, Silva (Dzeko 76), Balotelli, Tevez (c)
Unused: Taylor, Boyata, Vieira, Wright-Phillips
Goals: Kolarov (41)
Booked: Tevez, Kompany, Silva, de Jong, Y Touré
Sent Off: Balotelli
Referee: Cüneyt Çakir
Man of the Match: Nigel de Jong
Needing two goals without reply to just force extra time, City were up against it from the off. And they were out of the traps quickly, as an early goal would have gone a long way to help with the confidence and the mountain ahead. Tevez had a run at the Kyiv defence, but couldn’t find a way through, before Balotelli, somehow, missed an open goal from two yards, skying a Richards cross.
It was almost trouble for City, though, after just five minutes, but Joe Hart was down smartly to his right hand side to stop the visitors killing the tie off with an away goal. Balotelli then headed over from a Kolarov corner, as City pressed for a way back into the fixture.
As the half settled down, City began to keep possession in the Kyiv half and the visitors were looking to attack on the break, keeping the game stop-start and not allowing the home side to play. It worked, but when City could get moves going, they looked dangerous – as Balotelli accidentally blocked a Silva shot that would have worried the goalkeeper.
But then, as City were looking for a way back into the game, their task got a lot harder. Balotelli was shown a straight red card with ten minutes of the first half to play, seemingly for a karate-kick style challenge onto Popov’s chest, as he tried to clear the ball. City’s mountain had become even steeper.
Though City gave themselves a helping hand soon after. A free kick on the edge of the box was tapped to Kolarov and, after taking a touch to get the ball out of his feet, the left back thundered a shot through the penalty area and into the net. The keeper should have done better, but City weren’t complaining.
And City produced the move of the match so far with some neat interplay between Kolarov, Tevez and Silva right on the stroke of half time, but after the Spaniard had laid it off to Touré, the Ivorian couldn’t get his shot on target, skewing it more towards the corner flag.
Kyiv were then lucky to keep eleven men on the pitch after a high challenge on Tevez on the edge of the box. From the resulting free kick, Richards launched himself at the cross, but his header cleared the crossbar. Yarmolenko then fired in Kyiv’s best effort from 30 yards, but it was comfortable for Joe Hart.
Silva then broke into the box and won a corner with a deflected shot, when he should have perhaps found Tevez on the edge of the box, before Lescott saved City from needing to score even more by heading a corner off the line, as Hart was beaten.
City began to pour forward looking for their equaliser, but that left them open to the counter attack and it needed de Jong to take a yellow card for the team to prevent a three-on-two in the visitors’ favour. Kolarov then won a corner as his drilled cross was almost headed in for an own goal, before Kompany had to rescue a deep ball into the box, but Dzeko couldn’t get the ball back into the mix.
With five minutes to play, Hart had to get down to give away a corner and keep City in the tie, as an away goal at this point would definitely kill off the home side. As the board went up for added time, Dzeko turned and drilled a fierce shot at goal, but the goalkeeper was across well to make the save.
As a final roll of the dice, City had a free kick on the edge of the box: Yaya Touré drilled the ball in and Tevez was millimetres away from getting a touch past the goalkeeper, but he couldn’t and the keeper was able to take the shot with ease. And with that, City’s hopes of a European trophy were over, the damage being done in the first leg.