1-0 Johnson 43
Derby County 0
- Match reports
- 15 August 2007 00:00
- Posted by Leon Collins
Pre Match news
Emile Mpenza's 45 minutes against Bolton reserves on Monday night is proof enough to Sven-Goran Eriksson that he's worthy of a place in City's first home squad of the season. Otherwise City remain unchanged from Saturday's win.
A close-to-capacity crowd is expected tonight, so the atmosphere should be a lively one here in the Stadium as the Blues look to build on Saturday's three points and impressive performance at West Ham.
It was a noisy welcome from the home crowd for the returning heroes after Saturday's opening-day victory as the Blues looked to put together back-to-back wins in their first two Premier League games for the first time.
But with just a couple of minutes gone Derby almost caught out a nervy looking Schmeichel, on home debut, with a dangerous ball in from the left that the young Dane really should have come for.
Within two minutes City fashioned an opening of their own thanks to Elano and Stephen Ireland combining well down the right with the former putting a beautiful ball across the face of goal - sadly to no avail.
City were continuing with their slick passing ways and 20 minutes in had put together some neat movements but without creating anything in or around the box. Michael Johnson tried to change that as he broke a couple of challenges before firing over Bywater's bar from the edge of the area.
On the half hour mark, Derby put together a neat passage of play themselves, which eventually earnt them a free-kick on the edge of the City box. Two great blocks followed before the Blues tore up the field, led by the lightning Petrov, luckily for Derby his move with Ireland, making his 50th Premier League appearance for City came to nothing.
After 35 minutes the City faithful were up again - this time referee Mason waved away the appeals despite Mears looking like he'd handled the ball after going to ground inside the area - players and fans alike were unimpressed.
Derby almost created an opening seven minutes before the break after a long ball over the top gave Pearson the slightest of chances, an edgy looking Schmeichel came and stopped before the danger was cleared.
But with just two minutes to half time City produced what we had all been waiting for since New Year's Day....a goal and what a goal!
Michael Johnson started the move on the left and cut in for a nice one-two with Elano before taking another couple of strides and hitting an unstoppable shot with the outside of his right foot beyond the helpless Bywater.
The 19-year-old's first goal for the Blues and a fine way to open his account.
The half ended with Petrov's name being taken for a shirt pull on Fagan. All in all City worked hard for their goal and just about deserve the lead.
HALF TIME: City 1-0 Derby
Derby made just the one change at the break with Gary Teale coming on to add a bit of pace to the Rams counter-attacks.
But it was City who created the first attempt of the second half as Corluka's cross from the right was turned on towards goal by Bianchi.
On 58 minutes Micah Richards was almost out-muscled (he slipped in the end) and the nippy Teale put in a wicked low-ball which Kasper Schmeichel brilliantly kept out with an outstretched hand to deny Howard a certain leveller.
City hit back and Stephen Ireland's dipping volley stung the palms of Bywater two minutes later as the Blues went like-for-like and more to Derby's chances.
Strangely Didi Hamann's became the second name taken by referee Mason after pointing out previous elsewhere on the pitch following an innocuous foul.
With 20 minutes to go Billy Davies threw Welsh striker Rob Earnshaw on to try and get in behind the strong Blues backline.
Sven made his first change of the night on 74 minutes as Brazilian star Geovanni replaced Martin Petrov to the chorus of 'Geo, Geo, Geo.'
City next sub saw Sven bring on the 'Boj' as Valeri Bojinov made his first appearance at CoMS with 13 minutes left. Shortly after Johnson capped an all-round star performance by picking up a yellow card.
It was City who looked the most likely to bag the next goal and Geovanni carried on where he left off on Saturday with some nice touches after his introduction.
The Blues final change came with a minute left as Emile Mpenza replaced the impressive Elano a minute from time.
As well as the flair going forward the solid defence remains as the Blues kept a second clean sheet and with the whistle blown - City could be sitting top of the league tonight.
FULL TIME: City 1-0 Derby
mcfc.co.uk's Man of the Match: Michael Johnson - looked like a seasoned professional in the middle of the park. He won the game with a beautiful strike.