Manchester City 2 Bolton 0

English Premier League
Saturday 3 March 2012, 15.00 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta (K Toure 19), Kompany (c), Lescott, Clichy, Barry, Y Toure (Milner 82), Pizarro (Dzeko 62), A Johnson, Nasri, Balotelli
Unused: Pantilimon, Kolarov, Silva, Aguero
Goals: Clichy (23), Balotelli (72)

Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Man of the Match: Yaya Toure

It was a frantic start at The Etihad Stadium, where City could have taken the lead several times in the opening few minutes. Zabaleta pulled the ball back to Nasri, but his effort was blocked en route to goal by a Bolton leg. Balotelli then struck the foot of the post, before Nasri’s follow-up was blocked on the line. Balotelli had a golden chance to sidefoot home, but he somehow put his effort wide after some good work by Adam Johnson on the right… And the clock had barely hit five minutes.

Miyaichi had Bolton’s first effort of the day, but he could only find Joe Hart’s gloves when he should have done a lot better, before Balotelli beat the offside trap and slipped at the vital moment, scooping his shot well over the bar. It didn’t take long, though, for the hosts to take the lead, but it wasn’t without a stroke of luck. Clichy shot from the edge of the box and it was destined for Bogdan’s hands, until a deflection beat the visiting keeper and the ball found the bottom corner.

But, with just over the half hour played, Bolton could have gotten back into the game. Reo-Coker did well to evade a challenge from Lescott, before whipping in a cross towards Ngog, but the ball was just too far ahead of the striker for him to connect. The same two visiting players combined minutes later to force a good save from Hart, as he needed to palm away a well hit shot.

The home side had their goalkeeper to thank that the scores weren’t level and City went in at the break in front, too. Miyaichi stole the ball from Kolo Toure, before curling an effort towards the far post from inside the area. But the England international got a fingertip on the ball and diverted it behind for a corner. And there were more heroics at the other end of the pitch from Bogdan, who kept it at 1-0 when Kolo Toure’s stabbed effort was blocked.

Balotelli should have doubled City’s lead with his first kick of the second half, as he was brilliantly played in by Nasri. But, as Bogdan closed him down, he didn’t make his mind up and left it too late to beat the Bolton shot-stopped, who blocked at the Italian’s feet. Barry then scooped an effort over the bar from the edge of the box, before Bolton began to get their foot on the ball, without really testing Hart in the home side’s goal.

With 25 minutes to play, it was almost two as Dzeko wound up to shoot on the edge of the box. But Darren Pratley got there first and tried to stab the ball away from the Bosnian forward; he did, but he beat his own goalkeeper with a lob and the ball crashed back into play off the crossbar. It didn’t matter, though, as two minutes later, Balotelli tapped home City’s second: Adam Johnson did briliantly to drive through two challenges in the area, before beating Bogdan with a backheel, leaving the Italian with the simple job of putting the ball in the net.

The goal sparked City into life: Johnson miss-hit a volley inside the area, Yaya Toure burst through and tried to set up Nasri, but the shot was blocked and Kolo Toure almost found Dzeko at the near post, but Wheater managed to squeeze the ball behind before the Bosnian could finish. All in all, it was a comfortable win for City, even if Bolton were occasionally dangerous on the break, and the home side were, once again, five points clear before United had played.


Bolton 2 Manchester City 3

English Premier League
Sunday 21 August 2011, 16.00 KO

City: Hart, Richards, Lescott, Kompany (c), Kolarov, Milner, Barry, Silva (Zabaleta 89), Y Toure, Aguero (Tevez 68), Dzeko (A Johnson 80)
Unused: Pantilimon, Clichy, Savic, Balotelli
Goals: Silva (26), Barry (37), Dzeko (47)

Referee: Mike Jones
Man of the Match: David Silva

It was a bright start to the game that saw City with an early corner, but Lescott committed a foul in winning the header, before a Bolton free kick caused Joe Hart some trouble in the visiting goal. He parried it and it was left to Lescott to clear the ball from the six yard box. Silva couldn’t find Aguero from the resulting breakaway.

Kompany was then on hand to clear from the penalty spot as Steinsson got a low cross into the box, before Knight reacted to a defensive header from a corner. He prodded the ball towards the post, but it was just wide of the post. Lescott was then needed to deflected a Davies header over the bar.

A neat ball from Silva then put Kolarov in behind the Bolton defence, who smashed the ball across the six yard box. Milner got the touch, but Jaaskelainen managed to block and collect the ball. Dzeko then couldn’t force his way through the back line, as he looked to get a shot away and Silva hit at shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Dzeko then found Milner on the break and the Englishman returned the ball to the forward. He worked his way into the box and delivered a low cross into the back post where Aguero was waiting. The new signing got the ball and hit it first time, but skied it when he probably should have scored.

Bolton looked to have rode the storm as City pressed, but after some good work from Richards breaking into the box, the visitors took the lead. The right back found Silva on the edge of the box and the little Spaniard took a shot and it went straight through Jaaskelainen and into the net. City had the ball in the net again four minutes later, but it was ruled out as Richards had fouled Petrov in the build-up.

Aguero should then have doubled City’s lead with 10 minutes of the first half remaining. A ricochet took the ball into Dzeko’s path down the left and he got there before the covering defenders. His cross was met by the Argentine with a free header, but he nodded it wide of the far post. City began to pile on the pressure, as Barry couldn’t find a red and black shirt in the box, before Milner’s low cross was deflected into the side netting.

From that corner, though, City did get their second goal. The ball was played straight to Barry on the edge of the box and, from 25 yards, he fired it into the top corner with Jaaskelainen left flapping at thin air.

But the home side responded immediately. Petrov fired in a low cross towards the penalty spot after he was found by Cahill. Klasnic was first to it and he fired it straight into the back of the net on the volley, reducing the deficit back to one goal. City tried to do the same, but Milner’s ball over for Dzeko was just too far and Aguero couldn’t get to the rebound off Jaaskelainen first.

The first action of the second half saw Dzeko get himself on the scoresheet and restore City’s two goal lead. A ball was knocked on by Milner to Dzeko and Robinson committed himself to the challenge, but didn’t win the ball. It broke to the Bosnian in the box, as he beat Zat Knight, and he made no mistake in smashing it past the home side’s keeper.

City were immediately on the hunt for the fourth: Dzeko won the ball back in midfield and set Aguero away. He found Milner, who returned it to the Argentine with space to run into. He broke into the box, but couldn’t find room for the shot. Instead, he found Silva, who found Milner, who curled a shot straight at Jaaskelainen.

Some neat Bolton interplay should have seen Eagles do better as he broke unmarked into the box. Petrov knocked the ball past Kompany to the midfielder and, instead of delivering the ball to the middle, he elected to take a shot and sliced it wide of Hart’s near post. City responded with some of the same, as Dzeko put Milner through, but his shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide.

Silva did well to win a corner as he was crowded out in the box. A short corner routine could have gotten City further in front, as Silva and Milner worked the crossing opportunity, but Dzeko couldn’t quite direct his header on target. Kolarov then smashed a shot just wide, with the aid of a deflection.

But, as City were dominant in the game, they conceded a second and Bolton, once again, reduced the deficit. Davies climbed higher than Lescott from a free kick and nodded the ball towards goal. Joe Hart threw himself at it, but couldn’t reach it, and it flicked off the post and into the net.

Tevez then joined the action and created a great chance for Silva as he cut the ball back to the Spaniard. But Knight was in quickly to block the fierce effort from the edge of the six yard box. Milner then smashed a ball across the box looking for Dzeko, but Jaaskelainen was there first.

City could have sealed the points with seven minutes to play as the some possession play ended with Johnson picking up the ball just inside the box. He took on and beat Knight and tried to roll it into the back post, but it was just wide, with Tevez slightly too far away to connect. Tevez then had the chance to smash a shot in from level with the penalty spot, but it almost cleared it out of the stadium instead.

Bolton began to press the City defence, but, as the board went up for stoppage time, City’s midfield took control of the ball and the visitors were able to see out a victory to send them top of the Premier League.

Bolton 0 Manchester City 2

Barclay’s Premier League
Sunday 22 May 2011, 16.00 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta (Wabara 87), Kompany, Boyata, Lescott, de Jong, Barry, Y Touré, A Johnson (Dzeko 60), Silva (Milner 78), Tevez (c)
Unused: Given, Vieira, Wright-Phillips, Balotelli,
Goals: Lescott (43), Dzeko (63)
Booked: Tevez

Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the Match: Gareth Barry

City started the final game of the season the brighter, setting the pace in the blustery conditions at the Reebok Stadium, but they couldn’t find the early lead they wanted. A Silva cut the ball back towards Tevez, he should have planted it into the net, but it hit a Bolton leg en route. Kompany then had a free header that he put over the bar from a corner.

The home side then missed a similar chance, as Kevin Davies nodded wide, before he was lucky to stay on the pitch with a late and high challenge on Lescott. Bolton would have felt they should have had the lead soon after, as Sturridge found Elmander, but he was denied by a great save from Hart.

Hart then had an uncharacteristic moment in letting the ball slip through his grasp, but Zabaleta was behind him in the six yard box to chest it down and clear the danger. He then smashed the ball against the back of Johann Elmander and it could have gone anywhere, but fortunately for City, it bounced behind for a goal kick.

The City keeper then produced another fine save to keep the scores level, with half an hour played, as a flicked header towards the back post could have dropped into the net and Hart extended his fingertips to knock it behind. The visitors then should have taken the lead after some neat play between Tevez and Touré let Boyata cross. Barry connected and hit the crossbar, before Touré nodded the rebound wide.

Adam Johnson should have put the away side in front as he then had the chance to pick his spot from inside the penalty area, but he skied it and didn’t trouble the goalkeeper. Kompany then deflected a shot wide, before Tevez had a shot saved by Jaaskelainen and Silva put the rebound over the bar, with his right foot.

City then caused panic in the Bolton penalty area as a cross to the back post was nodded towards goal by Johnson and Jaaskelainen flapped at it. Touré tried to get onto the second ball, but the keeper got there first and conceded the corner.

With two minutes to play before half time, a fluke header got City the lead. A corner aimed towards the penalty spot was attacked by Kompany, but he missed it completely and it took Lescott completely by surprise. It hit him on the head and looped past Jaaskelainen into the top corner, giving the visitors the lead.

The home side started the second half the better and it took a good foot from Kompany to block a Taylor cross, before Davies couldn’t force the ball home. A throw into the box was well dealt with by Boyata, as City struggled to get the ball away. Sturridge could have equalised against his former club, but the ball fell to his right foot on the edge of the box and he could only direct his shot wide.

Ten minutes into the second half, City should really have doubled their lead. Kompany stepped in to make a brilliant interception and Silva had the chance to shoot from the edge of the box. With Touré to his left, he elected to have a go at goal, but it was tame and Jaaskelainen could collect it easily.

Kompany then made a block to a Sturridge shot, before Tevez broke into the box and tried to get an effort on target to edge him ahead in the running for the Premier League Golden Boot. His shot, though, flashed wide of the post. Dzeko then joined the action and Tevez played a great ball for Barry, who crossed for the Bosnian. He missed his first chance, but he was able to swivel and shoot, planting the ball into the net.

A poor backpass put Joe Hart under pressure as he tried to control it with Sturridge closing him down, but he was able to get a clearance in. It was blocked by the former City striker, but it was never in danger of dropping into the net and the visitors had a goal kick. City could have had a second fluke of the game as a Bolton clearance then connected with Tevez’s head, but it looped over the bar.

Milner chased down Robinson and won the ball back as it was directed towards his goalkeeper, but his square pass didn’t find a blue shirt. Tevez won it back and, via Touré, he had a shooting chance on the edge of the box, but it was swallowed up by Jaaskelainen. Daniel Sturridge then saw a red card for a nasty challenge on Dzeko, which left him on the deck.

With attention elsewhere in the league, the game petered to a close and Tevez wasn’t able to add his name to the goalsheet. Eyes went to Old Trafford to see if Berbatov would steal the award, but he wasn’t able to and the former United teammates shared the award. City, though, finished level on points with Chelsea, to round off their best ever Premier League Season.

Manchester City 1 Bolton 0

Barclay’s Premier League
Saturday 4 December 2010, 15.00 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, K Touré (Lescott 32), Kompany, Kolarov, de Jong, Barry, Y Touré, Silva (Richards 85), Balotelli, Tevez (c) (Milner 90)
Unused: Given, Vieira, Jo, A Johnson
Goals: Tevez (4)
Booked: Y Touré, Tevez, Kolarov
Sent Off: Kolarov

Referee: Andre Marriner
Man of the Match: Vincent Kompany

City started the game quickly, pressing Bolton and looking for the early goal. And that’s just exactly what they got – Tevez, fresh from having gotten his eye in with an effort straight at Jääskeläinen, was sent through by Yaya Touré and he made no mistake, slipping it past the goalkeeper and into the corner of the net.

Yaya Touré could have then doubled City’s lead just two minutes later, but his effort from inside the box was blocked, before he later crossed for Tevez and Balotelli, but the low ball was just behind the two forward men.

Both the City players and the City fans wanted a penalty on 15 minutes, as Silva weaved his way into the box and fired in a shot. It was blocked en route to the goal, but it looked to have been by the arm of the defender. The referee, though, gave a corner and not a spot kick.

Bolton had their first real chance of the game a minute later, as ex-City winger Petrov’s free-kick deflected off the City wall and curled just wide of Hart’s post.

With half an hour gone, Yaya Touré misplaced a defensive header and it needed Kolarov to get the ball away, before City had a goal ruled out for offside – Barry was clearly ahead of play, but there were questions as to how active he was, as he let the ball run for Silva, who found Tevez to slot it home.

Silva then cut inside from the right and left the defence in a spin, before finding Tevez on the edge of the box. The Argentinian, though, could only find the gloves of Jääskeläinen, as City looked for that second goal.

Zabaleta then had a golden chance to find it, but his one-on-one was blocked, after he ran on to a delightful chipped pass from his fellow countryman, Tevez. Tevez then shot over, as Zabaleta returned the favour a minute later.

After the break, Bolton should have pulled level with their best chance of the game. City were caught short at the back and Kevin Davies had the chance to volley from the edge of the box, but it was just over the bar.

Zabaleta then should have added to City’s lead as he was sent clear in the box, but the full back’s shot was well blocked by Jääskeläinen. Balotelli then hit the post, after Tevez and Silva caused confusion in the visitors’ box.

City were soon peppering the Bolton goal with shots, as Balotelli had a shot saved when Barry was square, Tevez shot high and wide and Silva hit the bar, as the home side pressed for that second goal.

After the bout of pressure, though, it took Zabaleta to put in a fantastic defensive header to deny a certain equaliser, as the ball was swung to the back post. Hart was then able to collect the ball in the box, as a corner caused a moment of confusion.

Jääskeläinen got down well to save a Kolarov free kick on 65 minutes, before a run and shot from Yaya Touré was blocked for a corner by Gary Cahill.

With 20 minutes to play, it was almost 1-1, but for Vincent Kompany. The big Belgian saved Hart’s blushes, after the young keeper came off his line to collect a free kick and, unchallenged, let the ball slip through his hands. It carried on through towards the net, but the centre-back was there first to clear.

Two minutes later, Kolarov picked up a yellow card for a late challenge in the City half, before a delightful run by Kompany opened the Bolton defence up. He carried the ball to the edge of the box and produced a wonderful flick to Kolarov, but his shot was driven wide.

But then, as it looked like City would be comfortable going into the final minutes, Kolarov slid in on Ricketts and looked to have touched the ball. But the linesman flagged for a foul and the referee concurred, giving the left back his second yellow card and sending him for an early shower.

With minutes to go, it was backs to the wall for City, needing Lescott and Kompany to clear the danger from Kevin Davies, before Richards produced a fine header to thwart another Bolton attack.

Balotelli had the chance to shoot at goal from a free kick, but it was well over the bar, before Bolton launched it towards the City box again. But, again and again, there was Kompany to head clear and help the ten men see out the game.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Twitter | Technorati

Manchester City 2 Bolton 0

Barclay’s English Premiership
Tuesday 9 February, 19:45 KO

City: Given, Zabaleta, Bridge (Wright-Phillips 69), Touré (c) (Lescott 55), Kompany, de Jong, Barry, Vieira, A. Johnson (Sylvinho 85), Tevez, Adebayor
Unused: Taylor, Onuoha, Ireland, Petrov
Goals: Tevez (pen 32), Adebayor (73)

Referee: Michael Jones
Man of the Match: Adam Johnson

After the disappointment of the KC Stadium, City needed a good performance to bounce back. In truth it never looked like coming, though Bolton seemed content to contain the home side for large spells. City began the brighter, with Kompany cutting out a pass to Davies and an Adebayor bicycle kick landing just wide of the post.

With 13 minutes gone, Adam Johnson had the chance to get a shot in after some neat play between Adebayor and Tevez, but his low effort was deflected into the side netting for a corner.

City’s new signing then jinked past one Bolton defender like he wasn’t there before breaking towards the box. With fans in the ground looking for him to take on the next Bolton man, he looked for Adebayor outside, but the big front man had just strayed into an offside position.

Just after the half hour, Johnson was central to City taking the lead. He skipped into the box by the right by-line and was brought down by Ricketts. Tevez stepped up and blasted the penalty down the middle. It hit Jaaskelainen, who will feel he should have saved it, and just found the back of the net.

Touré and Given then combined to deny Elmander in the box, before the City keeper had to be on his toes to change his body position quickly to push away a shot from Muamba that had deflected off Kompany.

Just before half time, Adebayor should have done better when a misplaced pass could only be flicked on by Ricketts to the City striker, but he snatched at his effort and it was well wide of the Bolton goal.

Right on half time, Bolton had the chance to equalise after a dubious handball decision against Barry. Almost all of the City side were in Given’s man wall, but it was enough to block the ball to safety.

With 55 minutes gone, Tevez had a go at goal from a free kick from about 30 yards. It looked like it was going well over until it dipped at the last moment and hit the top of the bar, with Jaaskelainen stranded.

On the hour, Adam Johnson was a Jaaskelainen fingertip away from opening his City account, as he cut inside from the right and chipped a ball at the back post. It was going in until the Bolton keeper tipped it wide, as Tevez loomed.

Bolton were trying to force a City mistake at the back with many crosses, but Kompany, Touré and Lescott dealt well with anything in the air. Cohen tried a back-heel from a corner, but it was wide, before a Tevez back-heel set Barry free in the box, but he couldn’t get a shot in thanks to an excellent Muamba tackle.

With 73 minutes gone, two former Gunners combined to give City a two goal cushion. Vieira played a neat pass over the top to Adebayor, who was just onside, and he brought it down superbly, before vollying it straight past the onrushing Jaaskelainen.

Four minutes later, Paul Robinson was lucky a yellow card wasn’t worse after his not-so-pretty challenge on Wright-Phillips, which had the England winger tumbling head over heels. Fortunately, the City man was fine and was able to be flattened by Taylor shortly after.

Kevin Davies then headed over for the visitors, before Elmander poked a Bolton free kick onto the post. Zat Knight then wasted the chance to pull a goal back from a corner, well into stoppage time.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Twitter | Technorati

Bolton Wanderers 3 Manchester City 3

Barclay’s English Premiership
Saturday 12 December 2009, 15:00 KO

City: Given, Richards, Lescott, Touré (c), Sylvinho, Barry, Kompany (Robinho 72), Bellamy, Wright-Phillips (Ireland 20), Tevez, Adebayor (Santa Cruz 81)
Unused: Taylor, Onuoha, Zabaleta, Petrov
Goals: Tevez (27, 76), Richards (45)
Booked: Sylvinho, Bellamy
Sent Off: Bellamy

Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Man of the Match: Carlos Tevez

City went into this game off the back of two excellent performances against Arsenal and Chelsea and knew they would face a physical game. Bolton fans weren’t confident and neither set of fans could have expected the game they saw.

The first action of the game saw Kevin Davies go down in the City box, but it was nothing like a foul and the referee waved play on. Bolton continue to press their visitors, winning three consecutive corners, but each came to nothing.

With nine minutes on the clock, Wright-Phillips had City’s first shot on goal, but it was well over the bar from range. City were struggling to get into the match.

And two minutes later, the visitors were made to pay. Chung Yong Lee had a shot on goal after a cross was badly defended by City. It deflected off Sylvinho and fell to Klasnic, who couldn’t miss from a yard out. But it was a bad decision to award the goal – Klasnic was a good yard offside.

Tamir Cohen tried to double Bolton’s lead with an overhead kick from inside the six yard box, but it flew over the bar, with Shay Given helpless.

It was then that City got their act together. Wright-Phillips went off through injury, replaced by Stephen Ireland and the Irishman began to have an effect on the game. City began to keep the ball and press the Bolton goal.

Jaaskelainen saved well from a Tevez shot, as Adebayor let the ball through his legs, but nobody was there to follow up and put the rebound in. And, as Ireland broke towards the box, Barry’s lay-back was just too strong and the ball ran away from the visiting side.

With just under half an hour gone, City pulled level. Bellamy crossed into the box and it was only half cleared, and Tevez puts it in, via a deflection, from the edge of the box.

Then, from a City corner, Ireland found Barry free in the box and he, somehow, put his left footed shot wide of the far post from eight yards out. Adebayor then couldn’t connect with a great cross from Sylvinho as City looked to take the lead.

A minute later, Sylvinho had a go himself – what is it they say about Brazilian full backs? – but his effort curled away from the upright at the last moment and flashed wide.

But then, as City dominated, Bolton hit them with a sucker punch. Gary Cahill lost the ball under his feet on the edge of the box, but managed to get it under control before the City defence could recover and he put a peach of a shot past Shay Given, leaving the City keeper with no chance.

But City were able to respond immediately. Some neat play from Bellamy and Adebayor sent Micah Richards through and the full back finished like a striker, beating Jaaskelainen at his near post.

The second half began with City pressing. Ireland had a shot from a corner, but it was well wide and not troubling the Bolton defence; the home side able to get the ball back down the other end of the pitch.

Ten minutes into the second half, Bolton struck again. Klasnic beat Lescott to the ball and volley his shot straight past Given, before the City keeper could react and it was 3-2.

Just before the hour mark, Tevez had a go from range, but it was well blocked and went for the corner. But Bolton were able to break, and it was a three-on-one with Sylvinho, who gave away the foul as Muamba wasn’t able to take advantage.

Just after the hour, Paul Robinson fouled Craig Bellamy clearly, but the referee thought otherwise and gave Craig Bellamy his second yellow card for diving… when he hadn’t had a first! The only conclusion to come to was that he was booked twice in the same minute, once for simulation and once for something he’d said to the referee.

With 66 minutes gone, Joleon Lescott had a wonderful chance to equalise for City, but his free header from six yards from an excellent cross by Carlos Tevez was over the bar, with Jaaskelainen stranded.

City began to pressure the Bolton goal, but they were leaving themselves open to counter attacks. First Sylvinho had to be alert to stop a breakaway, before Ireland was on hand to knock the ball back to Given.

With 15 minutes to go, Bolton substitute Elmander should have done better when he was free at the back post, but his cut back was nodded behind by Touré and City got the corner clear.

Then, with just over ten minutes to go, Tevez fired in a shot straight past Jaaskelainen from the left side of the box. It beat the Bolton keeper and found the bottom corner and it was an equaliser for the ten men.

But then City weren’t settling for a point, despite being a man down and away from home. Santa Cruz came on for Adebayor and Joleon Lescott had a wonderful chance to grab a winner with five minutes left, but his right-footed effort missed the ball completely and Bolton were off the hook.

Elmander than skied an effort well over the bar, before Robinho had a go from range and, while Jaaskelainen was confident it wasn’t going in, it had the crowd on the edge of their seats.

But, despite the four added minutes, neither side could force another chance and the game came to a close. There were several questionable decisions by the officials and City might feel hard done to, but they have a point from a fixture that it looked like they were going to lose.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Twitter | Technorati

Manchester City 1 Bolton 0

Barclay’s English Premiership
Sunday 24 May 2009, 16:00 KO

City: Given, Richards, Dunne (c), Onuoha, Bridge (Berti 83), Kompany (Zabaleta 82), de Jong, Ireland (Weiss 70), Wright-Phillips, Robinho, Caicedo
Unused: Hart, Petrov, Bojinov, Benjani
Goals: Caicedo (8)
City Man of the Match: Nedum Onuoha

City’s day started with Gerard Wiekens, Gareth Taylor, Tony Vaughan, Andy Morrison and Paul Dickov making an entrance to the City of Manchester stadium to remember the team’s excellent comeback in the 1999 playoff final.

And the game started brightly, with Shaun Wright-Phillips shooting straight at Jaaskelainen, after wriggling free in the box. But the home fans didn’t have to wait long for the ball to hit the net.

Robinho was felled outside the area and his run up to the resulting free-kick suggested a shot. But instead, he passed to Ireland, who chipped for Richards and the full back pulled out the acrobatics to cross for Caicedo to slot into the empty net.

From the restart, Wright-Phillips tested Jaaskelainen with a curling effort from range. It looked destined for the top corner, but for the keeper’s fingertips.

Caicedo then picked up a loose ball in his own half and, with little in the way of support, he headed straight for the Bolton box. After working his way to the by-line, he crossed low, but there was nobody there to finish. Ireland picked up the ball just to the right side of the box and set up Robinho, who smashed a shot against the post.

Robinho pulled out a backheel from a lying down position to set up Richards, but the full back was denied by Jaaskelainen, minutes before the City defender cleared from Gary Cahill off the goal-line.

The second half started worryingly for City, as Muamba had a free header in the box, but he chose to nod it back across goal, rather than at goal and it bounced for a corner to the visitors. Matt Taylor then had an invitation to shoot, but it was well off target.

With 12 minutes to go, Jaaskelainen had to be alert to tip a dipping and deflected Shaun Wright-Phillips effort over the bar.

Then, the City fans got to see their new cult hero. The biggest cheer of the day was saved for Glauber Berti joining the action in place of Wayne Bridge. Every one of his touches on his debut was greeted with a massive roar from the crowd.

It was a solid win for City on their last day of the season. The one-nil margin perhaps not reflecting the home side’s domination, but nevertheless, it was three more points and saw City finish tenth in the Premier League.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Twitter | Technorati