AaB Aalborg 2 - 0 Manchester City (City win on penalties)

Result on the night: AaB Aalborg 2 - 0 Manchester City
Result on aggregate: AaB Aalborg 2 - 2 Manchester City
Manchester City win 4 - 3 on penalties

A fortunate Man City edged through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup, where they will meet Hamburg SV, following an underwhelming and tedious, yet at the same time thoroughly enthralling and gripping, contest against AaB Aalborg. Leading 2 - 0 from the first leg, it seemed as though City would coast through to the next round, and this looked the case until the 84th minute of the match, when the Danish sidescored to reduce arrears and then converted a last-minute penalty to send the tie into extra time. Following 30 uneventful minutes, penalties ensued and with City scoring every one, and with Shay Given making a couple of fantastic stops, the Blues advanced.


Vincent Kompany doesn’t quite grasp the idea of tackling, as he bows on one knee to let the Aalborg player advance

Team News

Blues boss Mark Hughes was able to call upon the services of the returning Vincent Kompany to bolster the midfield after his long-standing toe injury, although Dutch hard-man ‘Nifty Nige’ de Jong was ineligible for this match. Kompany replaced Brazilian star Elano in the starting line-up as Hughes opted for a defensive minded set-up. Stephen ‘Superman’ Ireland shrugged off an injury doubt to line up in the starting eleven, while Ched Evans took the place of Ecuadorian battering-ram Felipe Caicedo.

The visitors were without the suspended Thomas Enevoldsen, and handed starts to former Wigan midfielder Anders Johansson, the man with a name ideally suited to puns: Anders Due, and balloon-man Luton Shelton. Their centre-back from the first leg, Michael Jacobsen, was moved out to left-back to cope with the threat posed from Shaun Wright-Phillips, whilst Siyabonga Nomvethe, a South African international midfielder, was named on the bench.


Penalty hero Shay Given oozes confidence as he comes to collect a cross

Report

The first half started, and 46 minutes later, it ended, with only a shot by Ched Evans keeping viewers awake. I apologise for the brevity of the first-half report, but in truth, nowt actually happened. This was the same case in the second-half as well, until the 84th minute when the home side revitalised the tie. Before this though, January signing Wayne Bridge was forced off with a hamstring injury, and was replaced by Javier ‘Have I Mentioned That I Met His Parents?’ Garrido, who clumsily almost conceded a penalty within seconds of coming on. The referee waved away desperate appeals from the Danish team, although replays showed that Garrido scythed down his man. At the other end of the field, Robinho hit the bar from all of five yards, a chance which should have been buried. That was the only occasion throughout the match that City threatened, a sad indictment of the Blues’ away form.

Upto this point, to describe the match as boring would have been the understatement of the century, but AaB Aalborg added tension to the proceedings with their first goal, courtesy of Luton Shelton. As the ball dropped in the penalty area, the former Sheffield United striker seemed to control it with his hand, turned, and fired the ball into the bottom corner to give hope to the Danes. City, for the first time in the tie, were panicked and the hitherto fantastic Richard Dunne and Nedum Onuoha suddenly looked shaky. As Aalborg piled on the pressure, one sensed, having watched City for 12 years and seen umpteen “typical City” moments, that the Blues were going to concede, and right on cue, in the 91st minute, they did. A corner was whipped in by Caca, and from a near post flick, the ball struck the helpless Ched Evans on the arm, thus gifting the home side a chance to take the tie to extra time. Michael Jacobsen strolled up confidently and smashed the ball into the back of the net, sending the home fans delirious, whilst you could have heard a pin drop amongst the travelling City supporters.

Another 30 nail-biting minutes ensued, and Mark Hughes made two changes in this period, bringing on Elano and Felipe Caicedo in place of the fatigued Vincent Kompany and unimpressive Robinho. Both sides had more than half an eye on the possibility of a penalty shootout, so were refusing to throw men forward. Garrido swung over a couple of free-kicks to no avail, and the referee blew his whistle to signal penalties.


Robinho was yet again unimpressive away from home

Penalties

City captain Richard Dunne clearly won the choice of ends, so opted to have the shootout in front of the City end, whilst Thomas Augustinssen chose to let his side have the first penalty.

Aalborg - Jacobsen - SCORED
Man City - Evans - SCORED
Aalborg - Johansson - SCORED
Man City - Elano - SCORED
Aalborg - Augustinssen - SAVED BY GIVEN
Man City - Wright-Phillips - SCORED
Aalborg - Nomvethe - SCORED
Man City - Dunne - SCORED
Aalborg - Shelton - SAVED BY GIVEN

Man City win 4 - 3

 
Contrasting emotions as City celebrate and Aalborg are left heartbroken

Player Ratings

Given - Not in action for 84 minutes, and then helpless for goals, but made himself a hero in the penalty shootout - 8

Richards - Unconvincing, especially when Aalborg piled on the pressure. Hardly got forward and is one of the weak points in the team - 6

Dunne - A tower of strength alongside Onuoha, repelling nearly everything the Danes could throw at him. Scored a cracking penalty - 8.5

Onuoha - Fantastic all game, and looked a model of concentration and precision - 8

Bridge - Lacked support when defending from Robinho and failed to supply any width when going forward. City looked worse off when he was replaced - 7

Zabaleta - Tried his hardest and got stuck into his fair share of challenges - 7

Kompany - Probably rushed back from injury too quickly and is now a doubt for the Sunderland game - 7

SWP - One of his poorer games, and he seemed to be operating in a much deeper role than usual - 6

Ireland - Works his socks off in the centre of the park, but this just wasn’t his day. Lacked any end product, although he was carrying an injury - 6.5

Robinho - What a surprise, he was awful. No work ethic and lost the ball numerous times when he should have shown more - 5

Evans - Better than Caicedo, although that’s not too difficult, but lacked killer touch. Had one very wayward shot, but at least he adds a physical presence to the team - 7 

Subs:

Garrido - Look rusty, as to be expected, when he came on and nearly gave away a penalty, but generally sound, and will have an extended run in the team if Bridge’s injury is as bad as first feared - 6.5

Elano - Scored a brilliant penalty, but other than that, was barely noticeable - 6

Caicedo - Give up - 5

Man of the Match: Richard Dunne

6 Responses to “AaB Aalborg 2 - 0 Manchester City (City win on penalties)”

  1. Ched Evans IS MY HERO :) Bellamy you’re not bad either ;) Says:

    ‘Danish sidescored’ Typo!

    ‘nowt actually happened’ I don;t like the word ‘nowt’ it makes it much more informal!

    ‘the helpless Ched Evans on the arm’ I am pleased you used the word ‘helpless’ I think that is the perfect word. I don’t think he was at fault at all. Anyway can I remind all of you Ched Evans haters…who was the one who actually got us this far due to his strength against Midget Land?

    My Player Ratings…

    Given - Hero in the shootout, looked sound up until the 84th minute - 8.5

    Richards - Shakey - 7

    Dunne - Good game, solid, back to his best - 9

    Onuoha - Great game again, him and Dunne look to be the real deal - 9

    Bridge - I thought he was poor - 6

    Zabaleta - Quite but very effective, best player on he pitch in my opinion - 9.2

    Kompany - Looked tired… - 6.5

    SWP - Didn’t look to take defenders on, always played the ball back? - 6.5

    Ireland - Not his day, surprised he didn’t have the guts to take a penalty ahead of SWP or Dunne - 6.5

    Robinho - Gave the ball away far too often and in dangerous positions - 5.5

    Evans - Very good game, looked a threat all night which makes a nice change - offers something more than strength. Once he gets the ball he holds it up which allows people to run in behind the defence like SWP and Ireland - 8.5

    Subs:

    Garrido - For someone who has not played at all he looked OK! - 6

    Elano - Not the most effective, few wayward passes but once again a great penalty.

    Caicedo - I give up too! - 3

    Good review. I got picked for 2nd’s this weekend but couldn’t play because of stupid Mr Taylor…

  2. Ched Evans IS MY HERO :) Bellamy you’re not bad either ;) Says:

    p.s Man Of The Match >>> Pablo Zabaleta

  3. Richard Dunne Likes Food Says:

    Richards - Shakey - 7 - TYPO
    Zabaleta - Quite but very effective, best player on he pitch in my opinion - 9.2 - TYPO, and do you mean 9.5? because if you do, that’s ridiculous.

    Did your parents complain about Taylor???

    PS: What do you think of the slightly reduced review??? - the old way was taking me too long so have cut out Key Battles and City Line-Up

  4. Ched Evans IS MY HERO :) Bellamy you’re not bad either ;) Says:

    No i mean 9.2 Steven!

    Yes I have and they are in the process of doing so…

    Yeah this is much betterrrr

  5. Blue Moon Says:

    Trust city to find the hardest method possible to progress in the competition. All we needed to do was…. ah well, a win is a win

  6. plattsy Says:

    Hi Steven
    Honest review, this was one of the worst games I’ve seen since we were under Pearce.
    We really didn’t play well at all, but they say all that matters is progression in the cup, so I’ll try to forget about it!

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