1-0 Elano 36
Birmingham City 0
- Match reports
- Sat 20 Oct 2007, 12:00AM
- Posted by Leon Collins
Pre Match news
City remain unchanged for the visit of Birmingham, which means Rolando Bianchi is deemed not fit enough to make the squad, while Michael Johnson is by Sven-Goran Eriksson. Star of the show last time out, Elano, returns from Rio after the international break and goes straight back into the side.
A couple of changes on the bench see Andreas Isaksson replace Schmeichel and Gelson Fernandes is handed a place amongst the substitutes.
Well, well a three o'clock home start for City as they look to make it six Barclays Premier League wins at CoMS on the spin, this time against Steve Bruce's Blues.
Manchester's City had an early scare just a few minutes in after Joe Hart picked up a contentious back pass from Corluka.
The England U21 stopper asked referee Dean what looked to be three times if it was safe...but he picked it up and paid the penalty. Not quite the ultimate one though as Jerome's resulting free-kick inside the box caught Ireland on the way over Hart's bar.
Ten minutes in though City sprung to life. A lovely turn from Elano 40-yards out gave him the chance to play Petrov in, but despite latching on to it, the Bulgarian speed merchant couldn't quite finish.
Elano was clearly showing no ill-effects from his trip to Rio as a second fine piece of skill after 15 minutes earnt him a free-kick. Cue the chants of 'Shoot', to which he duly obliged and won a corner.
And it was from that corner Sven's men could have taken the lead. Petrov's low on was flicked on at the near post before making its way through the Birmingham defence and to Corluka at the far post - his return ball appeared to strike Kelly on the arm - but no penalty was given.
After that the game seemed to drift a bit with maybe the Blues themselves unused to starting a game at 3pm! On 34 minutes, Birmingham's biggest and brightest threat, Cameron Jerome ran at the City defence before firing a low drive that forced Hart into a routine save.
The big crowd had brought big expectations with them after the previous home results, and supporters should have known that a Steve Bruce side would be stubborn, but the deadlock was finally broken on 37 minutes.
Michael Johnson had a tussle with Muamba on the right touchline and despite away protests for a foul Johnson touched the ball to Ireland. He then helped it on to Corluka inside the box who found Elano and the cool Brazilian took a touch before guiding a low left-footed shot in beyond Taylor.
It was Elano's fourth goal in three home games, but as the cliché states, you are at your most vulernable just after a goal and Birmingham almost proved it.
After dancing into the City penalty area, Olivier Kapo thought he had one after a touch from a Corluka, but as the Croat lost the ball Kapo struck for goal and forced a fine full-length stop from Hart.
Manchester's City just edging it at the break thanks to that man Elano again.
HALF TIME: City 1-0 Birmingham
No changes at the break as the Blues look for the same again to equal the best home start since 1957 by clocking up six home league wins.
Manchester City started the second half the brighter of the two with early pressure in the pursuit of a second goal and came close with a couple of dangerous corners from either side of the pitch.
With 15 minutes played of the second 45, Sven's men still looked the most likely as Petrov stung the palms of Taylor with an effort from an unthinkable range.
Georgios Samaras came on after 65 minutes for the hard-working Mpenza and almost created a second goal with his first action. A bustling run pulled two defenders towards him and as the ball broke it was Elano who lashed the ball over from 20-yards.
Moments later it was a heart-in-the-mouth time up at the other end as Palacios went down in the box and the whistle blew...luckily for City it was for Mike Dean to book the Honduran for a dive.
It wasn't long before Elano had the crowd 'ooo-ing' again after Petrov's precise ball in-field, the new magic man of Manchester set his sights and sent a right-footed drive sizzling past Taylor's post.
City needed a second goal to finish the Birmingham resistance movement and it was their best yet that nearly pulled them level. Palacios' great turn saw him free Kapo down the left and his fine delivery was met by Muamba six-yards out and somehow Joe Hart's instincts kept the ball out of the net.
Javi Garrido picked up a booking as City looked to break on 84 minutes. He just overran the ball and slid in to his cost. It was a tense ending as even the most biased Blues fan might accept Birmingham deserved a point for their efforts.
Steve Bruce thought he was playing again with two minutes left as he strode on to the pitch following a tackle from Johnson, which earnt the youngster a booking, as things were heating up towards full time.
Elano came off to his now customary ovation with a minute left giving Gelson Fernandes a chance to sample the atmosphere first hand. The young Swiss international could have even had a goal if Samaras had played him in, but it didn't matter, City had made it a perfect start from their first six home league games.
FULL TIME: City 1-0 Birmingham
mcfc.co.uk's Man of the Match: Vedran Corluka - played a full part in the victory both in defence and attack. Dealt very well with a lively Kapo.