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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Reaction, stats & ratings: City 1 Norwich 0

I love these types of games, but only if I don't have to watch them.

Yesterday's line-up didn't exactly back up Sven's comments after the Bristol City game that he was "taking this competition very seriously", but we got away with it.

And for the second time this week there was yet another reminder that this is not the 'same old City'. Saturday's game brought to mind my most depressing moment as a City fan, standing in a sea of bitterness at Craven Cottage at the start of the 98-99 season and watching Kevin Keegan's Fulham trounce us 3-0. Norwich, who yesterday announced they were facing a £7m black hole this year thanks to their parachute payments ending, provided a glimpse of another nightmarish vision - one we were sliding towards before this summer's takeover.

But we're in the last 16 and the draw is on Saturday. Just two more wins and we'll be in our first semi-final since 1981.

~ This week's Mystic Meg award goes to billy123 at Citymancs, who correctly predicted both the result and scorer.

~ Cardiff's 4-2 win at West Brom has to be something of a first, with three goals from ex-city players (two from Fowler, one from Sinclair) plus two goals from on-loan Ishmael Miller.


Match stats

The stats (below) are compiled from a live commentary and can differ from the stats at the BBC and Sky.





Match reports


Georgios Samaras pounces to do himself justice in the eyes of Eriksson (Oliver Kay)
It was harsh on Norwich City, who had been the equal of their Barclays Premier League opponents to that point, but, if anyone was entitled to a bit of luck on an otherwise forgettable evening at the City of Manchester Stadium, it was Samaras. The Greece forward became a byword for extravagance and impotent forward play under Stuart Pearce last season, but, as he kept his nerve to shoot past the advancing goalkeeper with only 53 seconds of normal time remaining, it was tempting, not for the first time, to remark on the feel-good factor that has swept the club since Eriksson’s arrival in July.


City 1 Norwich 0
The battle will not be an easy one to win but Samaras started in the best manner possible, finishing off Kelvin Etuhu’s superb through ball to ensure the Premier League high-flyers overcame a determined Norwich side who scrapped throughout but never really looked like causing a shock.
Not that City were that good. With only three chances of any note, the hosts seemed set to be taken into extra-time until Samaras found his range, charging clear of the Canaries defence to set the Blues fans chirping.


Samaras in late arrival to clip wings of Canaries (Dan Murphy)
"I'm very happy for him," Eriksson said. "He told me in August that he planned to stay and fight for his place and that's what he's done.
"I cannot say that we played excellent football because I would be a liar, but in a match like this we have to look at some other players beyond the 12 or 13 who play every week."


Samaras sinks Norwich on a rare night of triumph (Andy Hunter)
The restorative powers of Sven-Goran Eriksson know no bounds at Manchester City. Elevated beyond expectation in the Premier League, the former England manager even coaxed a defining goal from Georgios Samaras last night as the much-maligned striker subjected Norwich City to a late and cruel defeat.


Samaras keeps cool to rescue Eriksson (Mark Ogden)
Samaras, the Greek forward burdened by the hugely unrealistic £6million fee that former manager Stuart Pearce paid to acquire his services from Heerenveen in January 2006, beat Norwich goalkeeper David Marshall from close range after being freed by substitute Kelvin Etuhu in the 90th minute. Moments earlier, one fan had moaned "Get him off" after a typical piece of Samaras clumsiness, but he displayed nerves of steel to convert his late chance.

~ You can read a view of the game from a Norwich perspective at The Pink'un.


Player ratings

Ratings come from (in order): Father Dougal MaGuire, moomba (Bluemoon), MEN and Man City Mad.

Hart: 8, 6, 7, 7 (av: 7.0)
One fine save from a first half free kick but otherwise didn’t have to work too hard. (MEN)
Miles comfortable with him in net, although he didn't have much to do he did everything great! (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Good save from the free, but not much else to do. (moomba)

Logan: 6, 7, 6, 6 (av: 6.3)
Got forward well from his right back slot but needs a bit more composure on crosses. (MEN)
Thought him and Sun should of swaped, a few good runs in the first half but quiet in the second. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Good game, I would have swapped him and Sun around too. (moomba)

Dunne: 6, 7, 6, 8 (av: 6.8)
Asked boss to play and was usual reliable self which is more than could be said for some. (MEN)
Nothing great, nothing bad. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Solid. (moomba)

Onuoha: 6, 6, 6, 7 (av: 6.3)
Hardly troubled alongside the skipper and always posed a threat at set pieces. (MEN)
Nothing great, nothing bad. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Solid, apart from the letting the ball bounce criticism. (moomba)

Ball: 6, 6, 6, 6 (av: 6.0)
Like Logan on the other side of the field managed to get forward but wasted some crosses. (MEN)
Nothing great, nothing bad. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
OK. (moomba)

Jihai: 6, 6, 5, 5 (av: 5.5)
The midfield battle was too equal for the home side’s liking and he struggled to dominate. (MEN)
Nothing great, nothing bad. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
OK on the right wing, but hate to see him try and run things in the centre. (moomba)

Fernandes (Etuhu 68): 7, 6, 5, 5 (av: 5.8)
Unable to provide the platform for the front two to open up the plucky visitors. (MEN)
My MOTM, looks good for the future. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Bit of a disappointment, got around a bit but wasn't that effective. (moomba)

Ireland: 6, 5, 5, 6 (av: 5.5)
Gave the ball away too often for his own good even if he did then win it back. (MEN)
Got about, put some challenges in and a few good passes. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Poor, great opportunty to shine but didn't take it. (moomba)

Geovanni (Evans 79): 6, 7, 8, 7 (av: 7.0)
The one shining light who brought game to life with the ball at his educated feet. (MEN)
The outstanding performer in the first half... his guile looked the home team’s best hope of a breakthrough. (Times)
Can see why he doesn't start, corner kicks were worse than Barton, few decent runs but never hurt Norwich. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Great first half, faded in second. Touch, and vision were quality. (moomba)

Bianchi: 5, 5, 5, 5 (av: 5.0)
If he wants to usurp Mpenza from the first choice side then he will have to do better than this. (MEN)
Poor. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Worst performance I've seen for him, can't wait until he gets himself right though. (moomba)

Samaras: 7, 7, 7, 6 (av: 6.8)
Tried both wings with limited success. One good shot, one good cross and one superb goal. (MEN)
He is unlikely to have addressed too many of the Swede’s misgivings last night, when he was notable for persistence - not a bad quality, but not his obvious forte – rather than the poise expected of a £6 million forward. (Times)
Worked hard, feel sorry for the lad because everytime he does osmething wrong he gets abused, glad he took his goal well. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Tried hard, and while some thing didn't work out I thought h was one of our best. (moomba)


Subs:

Etuhu (Gelson Fernandes 68): 6 - , 7, - (av: 6.5)
Looked lively and great pass for goal. (MEN)

Evans (Geovanni 79): 6, - , 5, - (av: 5.5)
Was busy enough on debut. (MEN)


Subs not used:

Isaksson, Dabo, Williamson.

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