FC Midtjylland 0
0-1 (Califf own goal 89)
- Match reports
- 28 August 2008 18:30
- Posted by Tim Oscroft
Manchester City have made it through to the first round proper of the UEFA Cup after a 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory.
City fans will still be buzzing at the news that Shaun Wright-Phillips is back with the Blues, but now thoughts turn to the pressing matter of coming back from behind to progress into the next round of the UEFA Cup.
Richard Dunne returns, and Micah Richards is over his concussion to start in central midfield, with Vincent Kompany in eligible for this game. Vedran Corluka is at right back, Tal Ben Haik is in central defence, while Jo is back up front after his Olympic exertions.
There’s a great atmosphere in the compact SAS Arena, with around 600 City fans matching their Danish counterparts in the noise department.
City started brightly, with a deep cross from Petrov after a minute only just eluding Stephen Ireland on the far side of the box. The Irishman got the day’s first shot away a few minutes later from a corner, the ball flying a couple of yards wide. Joe Hart came to the rescue after seven minutes, diving low to his left to thwart Borring after the hosts had broken through the middle.
Elano was a constant threat, and he tested Heinze in the hosts’ goal after 21 minutes, wriggling into space on the edge of the box before firing in a low drive that went straight at the keeper. At the other end, Borring’s left-footed volley from outside the area curled straight into Joe Hart.
Midtjylland were clearly looking to kill the tie off rather than just sit on their lead, and City had Michael Ball to thank for keeping the score at 0-0 on 27 minutes, the left-back’s superb challenge in the area denying Olsen at the last second.
A superb Michael Johnson pass on 41 minutes found Jo in space on the left flank, and the Brazilian’s testing low ball back towards his provider was cut out by some last-gasp defending. The ball broke to Petrov on the edge of the box, but his shot smashed into a defender. A minute later the same player’s cross-cum-shot was saved by Heinze with Jo bearing down for a possible rebound.
There was a delay to the start of the second half while repairs were made to the nets in front of the away section, and when play finally resumed Martin Petrov volleyed the ball just over the corner of the near post and crossbar. The Bulgarian had another shot charged down seconds later at a corner, after Micah Richards’ initial header had been cleared away.
Mark Hughes made two substitutions just before the hour mark as City sought that all-important goal, Elano & Ben Haim being replaced by Sturridge and Hamann. The young striker could have had an opportunity seconds after coming on, but Steven Ireland’s low cross went behind him and was cleared away.
Joe Hart had to race to the edge of the box on 64 minutes to chest the ball away from the onrushing Thygsen. Five minutes later, substitute Babatunde could have sealed the tie but his header form a corner drifted just wide. City's keeper denied the same player with 18 minutes left, bravely sliding across the skiddy surface as the striker lunged for the ball. Babatunde spurned another chance with 12 minutes left, skewing his shot a long way wide from just inside the box.
The same player missed the easiest chance of the afternoon with eight minutes to go, somehow managing to miss the target all together with just Hart to beat, volleying the ball a long way over the bar with the goal at his mercy. Ched Evans, now on as a replacement for Jo, volleyed just wide a minute later.
The hosts were still creating most opportunities, and had Danny Olsen connected inside the area rather than taking an airshot it would have been all over.
But then, against all the odds, Ched Evans threw City a lifeline with a minute of normal time to go. The young striker’s flicked header looked to be goal-bound, but a wicked deflection off Califf totally deceived the keeper and City were level! A City corner came to nothing in time added on, and so the game went to extra time.
Michael Johnson had a golden opportunity to put City ahead in the tie on 96 minutes, Danny Sturridge’s through ball putting him in the clear but Heinze was equal to the situation and blocked the midfielder’s shot. Sturridge had the next great chance of extra time after 13 minutes, going on to his favoured left foot and rattling the crossbar after lifting the ball past & over Heinze.
Two nervy moments early in the second period of extra time – Florescu drove a fierce shot straight at Hart, and seconds later the City keeper watched as a cross from Borring dipped onto the roof of the net. City hit back with a good phase of pressure, ending when Michael Johnson’s volley on the turn went just wide. With eight minutes left the young midfielder went to the floor inside the area – but referee Malek waved play on and did not point to the spot.
Joe Hart was in exactly the right place with four minutes left, parrying a snap-shot from Kristensen over the bar. At the resulting corner, Corluka made a great challenge, stretching a leg out in mid-air to ease the pressure in a frantic City penalty area.
Michael Ball swung the ball over in the dying seconds of the 120th minute – but Heinze claimed it and we were into the dreaded penalty shoot-out!
Ched Evans took the first, ignoring the din and slotting high into the net. 1-0.
Reid next – scored. 1-1.
Martin Petrov – scored, rolled it in sending Heinze the wrong way. 2-1.
Poulsen – scored to Hart’s left. 2-2.
Michael Johnson – saved – Heinze going low to his left. 2-2.
Borring – saved!! Brilliant effort by Hart, high to his right. 2-2.
Didi Hamann – scored! Cheeky stutter in the run-up, sending Heinze the wrong way. 3-2
Califf – saved!! Hart down to his left, great save. 3-2.
Vedran Corluka – scores and City are through 4-2 on penalties!! Drills the ball to Heinze’s left, what a reaction to unbelievable pressure.