1-0 (Riggott o.g. 10), 2-0 (Elano 33), 3-0 (Elano 63)
3-1 (Hutchinson 88)
- Match reports
- 07 October 2007 00:00
- Posted by Leon Collins
Pre Match news
City were unchanged from the side that started against Newcastle, with the subs bench being exactly the same. The visitors' injury woes up front saw Sanli only on the bench with Mido and Aliaidiere still absent, young Tom Craddock leading the line in their place.
Middlesbrough set their stall out from the very beginning by packing out their midfield in attempt to frustrate City’s attacking instincts. Petrov managed a shot with his right foot inside the opening minute, and after Michael Johnson’s own effort on nine minutes was deflected behind for a corner the Blues took the lead.
Petrov swung in the corner from the right, the ball skimmed just over Richard Dunne’s head but hit Chris Riggott on the foot and squeezed into the net past the wrong-footed Schwarzer. Dunne took the plaudits from his team mates, but the goal was credited to the Boro defender.
Boro had the lion’s share of the possession over the next phase, but City were patient, with the game’s next chance falling to Mpenza. The Belgian striker latched on to the ball after neat interplay between Ireland and Elano, but his first time effort was straight at Schwarzer.
Elano was getting into the game more and more, and on 24 minutes he looked to have been fouled near the area but referee Bennett waved play on, with Hamann eventually firing just over from 25 yards out.
The mercurial Brazilian had the chance to match his amazing goal from the Newcastle match a minute later, but he fired it straight into the defensive wall with Johnson putting his shot from the rebound high and wide of the net.
Joe Hart had had little to do for the first half an hour, but he was alert enough to deny Lee Cattermole, beating away the Boro midfielder’s close range header.
Boro’s attack roused City into action, and on 33 minutes the lead was doubled by man-of-the-moment Elano. Michael Johnson’s sublime backheel went straight to the Brazilian international, who steadied himself before firing in an unstoppable shot low into the bottom right hand corner of the net from around 25 yards out.
Tuncay Sanli replaced Boateng at half time
With just seconds of the new half gone Craddock wasted a good chance when he scuffed his shot from six yards out, Hart collecting easily after Corluka’s clearance had gone straight to the Boro striker.
On 50 minutes Mpenza headed back a Petrov cross to Ireland, whose shot to a deflection off Riggott before looping over the bar.
Tuncay’s introduction had lifted the visitors, his neat ball to Young set the England defender up inside the area and he was unlucky to see his shot roll just wide of the post. Tom Craddock had another good chance seconds later, with Joe Hart pouncing at his feet to make a good block.
Woodgate gave away a free kick when he fouled Mpenza on the edge of the ‘D’ on 63 minutes, and it turned out to be a fatal mistake by the England international. Elano stepped up and this time he chose placement rather than power, putting the ball high into the top right hand corner of the net with Schwarzer not even diving and unable to get anywhere near it.
He was not far off making it a hat trick on 71 minutes, Woodgate blocking a flick from the outside of his right boot. Everything seemed to be going through Elano now, another free kick of his found Ireland with quarter of an hour left and Schwarzer made a smart save to deny the Irishman’s first time volley.
That turned out to be Elano’s last contribution of the day, and he received a richly deserved standing ovation when Geovanni replaced him with 12 minutes left.
Gary O’Neil earned a yellow card just afterwards for going in late on Joe Hart just after the City keeper had collected a high ball.
Samaras was also now on, and he made an encouraging contribution which included finding Geovanni in space with four minutes left. He in turn found Petrov, the Bulgarian’s rasping shot was parried by Schwarzer who had Cattermole to thank for clearing from the advancing Geovanni.
The biggest surprise of the day when the visitors grabbed a late consolation goal, although it was no surprise that their substitutes brought it about. Tuncay’s shot was pushed out by Hart into the path of Ben Hutchinson, who volleyed home from point blank range.
There was still time for Ireland to fire over the bar, and the game ended with the Blues still in third and still unbeaten at home with as many league wins under their belt now as in the whole of last season.