FC Midtjylland 1
0-1 Olsen 15
- Match reports
- 14 August 2008 22:00
- Posted by Leon Collins
Pre match news
Felipe Caicedo comes in to lead the line alongside Danny Sturridge tonight, a slightly surprising decision, maybe the hamstring injury Valeri Bojinov picked up on Saturday shortly after scoring his wonder goal was worse than first thought.
Elsewhere, Vedran Corluka returns to the City of Manchester Stadium following recent press speculation surrounding his future and despite a two-game suspension kicking in for skipper Richard Dunne at the weekend, he takes his place at the heart of the Blues' backline.
It was an inauspicious start to proceedings within the first couple of minutes as the matchball wasn’t deemed fit enough to be used by our referee. So after a bit of standing around Elano decided to hammer the offending (flat) ball into the Colin Bell Stand and a new one found.
When the action did get underway it was the visitors with the first effort on goal after eight minutes. Striker George Florescu’s shot only troubled those in about row 28 of the North Stand.
After starting the better side, it was the Danish league leaders who took the lead in the 15th minute.
It might have appeared to be a shock on paper maybe, but not on the pitch as Danny Olsen drilled a great low strike from the edge of the box, which gave Hart no chance and Midtjylland a vital away goal
City attempted to up their game and almost drew level after Petrov wriggled his way through the box, but his lofted shot cleared the crossbar.
On 25 minutes the Blues threatened again lead from the back by Tal Ben Haim, he marched to the edge of the Danes penalty area before laying it off to Petrov, his fine delivery was met by Sturridge from 12-yards out but his volley only bounced into the floor and was cleared.
The Blues' influence on the game was growing and just short of the half hour mark Elano tricked his way past the left back before switching play for Petrov to unleash a first time vollyed cross-shot which brought about another City corner.
Moments later it was another half-chance for the home side. This time Gelson Fernandes won the ball in midfield and slipped in Sturridge, but the young talent could only drag a right footed shot from 20-yards wide of Heinze’s far post.
Referee Rafati had his notebook out for the first time to make a booking on 36 minutes after a typical striker's challenge by Florescu on Corluka. And the referee levelled it up within a minute as Corluka himself was booked for a pull on Borring.
Danny Sturridge produced the best moment of the half for City on 43 minutes as he jinked on to his left foot after taking Caicedo's flick-on and hammered a shot against the Danes bar - a similar strike to the goal he scored in the 2006 FA Youth Cup Final at the Stadium against Liverpool.
So after the early shock of going a goal down, City had done everything bar pull themselves level in the first half.
HALF TIME: City 0-1 FC Midtjylland
There were no changes at the break as City looked to get back in the tie.
And they started the second half the same way they ended the first…on the front foot.
Two more half-chances came and went within the opening five minutes. Petrov having the best of them with a volley that seemed to take an age to drop before the Bulgarian laced it over the bar.
Midtjylland made the first change of the game on 55 minutes with Nworuh making way for Babatunde Collins (no relation).
And still the pressure was put on the visitors, as Petrov first, then Elano attempted to breach the Danish defence before the 60 minute mark was reached.
Mark Hughes made his first substitute on 64 minutes, as the hot and cold Caicedo was replaced by Valeri Bojinov, fast becoming a crowd favourite at CoMS.
After a quiet opening to the second period, the visitors came back into the game with two swift chances of their own on 65 minutes, luckily a corner was the best their efforts received.
Etuhu replaced Elano with 20 minutes to go as Hughes hoped his pace could be a factor in breaking down Midtjylland in the final third of the pitch.
It was heart-in-mouth time on 71 minutes as Martin Petrov had to clear off the line following a corner from the visitors appeared to be flicked goalwards by Sturridge.
Michael Johnson was the latest player to try his luck after 76, his shot though was well fielded by Heinze.
And the keeper couldn't do anything but watch a minute later as Petrov's free-kick from the edge of the area thumped off his bar and away as City cranked it up for a final push.
But it was to be a frustrating end to the game as City failed to carve out any late chances and it could have been even worse if the referee had taken a different view of Johnson's use of his arms to shrug off an opponent.
In stoppage time Hart needed to make a vital save to deny Florescu what could have been a tie winning goal even at 'half time' in this qualifying tie.
So after playing most of the game attack against defence, City, twice denied by the bar couldn't break through and now face a tough trip to Denmark in two weeks’ time one goal down.
FULL TIME: City 0-1 FC Midtjylland