Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughCity out but not down as Kompany sees red and the world sees blue - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough City out but not down as Kompany sees red and the world sees blue - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

City out but not down as Kompany sees red and the world sees blue

Manchester City went into Sundays FA Cup third round tie with Manchester United with a slightly depleted side. The Toures are on International duty and Balotelli and Dzeko are both nursing slight knocks. It was expected that City would change things around in the outfield but what surprised me was the inclusion of 6ft 10 Costel Pantilimon in place of the first choice Joe Hart in goal. 

United, for their part, earlier on in the day had to telephone the Salford retirement home in order to wake up Paul Scholes, make sure he had a nice bath and warm soup before turning out for Alex Fergursons side. The tie was certainly billed as the match of the round and it most certainly didn’t disappoint. 

City started off the aggressors early on with Milner and Silva causing problems for the United defense. However, with only ten minutes gone it would be United and Wayne Rooney who would take the lead, albeit against the run of play. Valencia returned the ball into the area and Rooney out muscled Richards and his own team mate in order to get his head on it. Pantilimon, at 7ft 3 could do nothing as the ball just scraped in from the underside of the bar.

It soon went from bad to worse for City as Captain Vincent Kompany went in on Nani. The referee, Chris Foy, surrounded by United players issued the City man with a straight red. I am not to happy when players get others sent off and the fact that Foy had already signalled for a free kick meant that Rooney and co had no business getting in his face, but such is life. The replays showed that although he did go in with both feet it really couldn’t be considered dangerous, a fact strengthened by the fact that Nani just got straight back up instead of rolling around as if a limb had been amputated as some do.

City did not relax their attacking stance though and Aguero went close before being caught again. DeJong, after the previous refereeing decisions probably felt nervous about being so close to Welbeck as the ball dropped in the area and take nothing away from him, the United player finished well to put United 2-0 up.

Less than ten minutes later and two becomes three as a clumsy challenge from Kolarov on Welbeck sends United to the spot. Rooney takes and Pantilimon saves but when you are 8ft 7 it is hard to get back up again and the United striker was the quickest to react to put the visitors 3-0 up and with half time approaching it was all set up to be one way traffic second half. 

Second half and Mancini looked to change things up a bit, electing to bring off both Silva and Johnson in favour of Zabaletta and Savic. The impact was instant, the sacrifice of ‘flair’ attack minded players for a more defensive minded duo allowed City to have a solid base at the back again and launch attacks, sparingly, when the opportunity arose.

Three minutes into the second half City won a freekick on the edge of the area. Kolarov, eager to make up for his mistake that gave away the penalty dispatched City’s first goal in their attempt at a comeback. From that kick onwards United became nervous. You could sense in the crowd that something special could be on the cards and whether he’ll admit it or not Alex Ferguson felt it too. So much so that he wheeled on Scholes to shore up the backline with half an hour still to go.

Five minutes later Agero proved that wasn’t going to work as he cut City’s deficit in half. Bad control from Scholes and a momentarily lapse in concentration from Evra allowed Milner to come away with the ball. Milners cross into the area found Aguero whose first time shot was low, on target and too hot for Lindergaard to handle. The Argentinian was quickest to react the the loose ball and it was game on.

Anderson came on for Welbeck to try to add more steel to the midfield but City had messed with Uniteds minds now and that showed in sloppy pass after sloppy pass from the boys in red. As if to add more frustration to Citys afternoon Chris Foy turned down appeals for a penalty after Jones handled inside the area. In fairness it had come off his leg and onto his arm but we have seen those given and with the crazy sending off earlier on I think they were expecting some luck.

Kolarov then had an almost identical freekick saved by the United keeper and subsequent attacks and rebounds did not fall City’s way. Despite being a man down and three down at the half everyone associated with the blue half of Manchester did themselves proud.  City fans are the best. So proud of the team, Mancini, everyone associated with City can hold their heads up high tonight. 3-1 down after 60 minutes, our fans stayed. A man down after less than 15 minutes, our players stayed the course. 3-0 down at half time, Mancini and co mastermind our comeback attempt. It is a testament to the power shift in Manchester that United holding on for a win, after all said and done is celebrated with such enthusiasm. United may have won the game but Manchester City have won the hearts and minds of the neutrals today.  Oh and can we check to see when Scholes was registered for United again? He may have been an illegal player today.

PA Cityboy

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