1-0 Elano 73
West Ham 0
- Match reports
- 16 January 2008 00:00
- Posted by Leon Collins
Pre Match news
After the narrow loss at Goodison at the weekend Sven-Goran Eriksson makes just the one change to his starting-line up. Nedum Onuoha drops to the bench as Stephen Ireland hopes to add some extra flair to the Blues attack.
Having won the cup in three other countries already, Sven will be keen to add the FA Cup to his list of achievements after a fine opening season in the Premier League thus far.
One chilling fact to bear in mind ahead of tonight's replay though is that the Blues have failed to knock West Ham out of the FA Cup in three attempts. But City's recent FA Cup pedigree should balance that up with two quarter final appearances in the last two years.
Micah Richards took the charge to West Ham straight from the off, penetrating the Hammers backline with a strong run down the right in the opening minute. The England man eventually forced the game’s first corner, which came to nothing as Petrov drilled it in low.
There was early tension in the air, reminiscent of the March 2006 quarter final, the memories further heightened by the sight of then City boss Stuart Pearce in the crowd.
Chief tormentor that night Dean Ashton was again looking to rattle Richard Dunne and his men as these two sides got familiar ahead of Sunday’s Barclays Premier League clash.
After a period of sussing each other out the first chance of the match came on the half hour. Lee Bowyer, Boa Morte and Ashton all combined to almost give West Ham the lead.
The big former Norwich striker stretched to volley at goal from six-yards after Boa Morte’s cross, but it only found a very well placed Joe Hart, who stood strong to deny a certain goal.
Unfortunately it was to be a fairly short-lived home debut for Nery Castillo after he was taken off on a stretcher as he appeared to land on his shoulder following a challenge from Lucas Neill.
Indeed it proved to be a suspected dislocated for Castillo as we were informed in the press box moments later.
Rolando Bianchi replaced the Mexican on 34 minutes as he hoped to repeat his opening day goal against the Hammers.
But it was West Ham who could have gone in at the break a goal to the good. A loose Richard Dunne header gave Ashton another sniff but Hart again prevented him and a collective sigh of relief was released.
HALF TIME: City 0-0 West Ham
No further changes at half time as both teams needed to inject a little more 'oomph' into the game to prevent it going to extra time and penalties.
Neat football again from the visitors almost saw the deadlock broken on 52 minutes. This time it was Bowyer to Ashton and Boa Morte with the final effort which produced a save from Hart.
City responded with some pressure of their own. Rallied forward by Elano and Martin Petrov, the Bulgarian’s low cross forced Green to attempt to paw it away after 56 minutes, unfortunately for Bianchi the slight touch was enough put him off his stride.
The game was now more end to end and as open as Eriksson had predicted beforehand. A touch of class was needed to open the score although I'm sure the Blues would settle for an unorthodox goal off someone's backside!
On 65 minutes Hamann picked up the now customary booking - again like Saturday's - this was a harsh one and probably more for a collection of minor indiscretions.
It wasn't long before Mr Clattenburg had his book out again. This time Boa Morte's name taken for a 'strong' challenge on Elano. Less than a minute later a tackle from behind by Boa Morte earnt nothing more than a stern word and subsequent boos from the Blues.
Moments after, Alan Curbishley saw fit to withdraw Boa Morte from the action, and save him from the City fans' wrath.
It wasn't booing from the City support after 73 minutes but cheers for a goal. Petrov’s dinked cross from the left saw Bianchi hit the far post with a header, but Elano was on hand to stoop and head the ball home, undoubtedly his bravest City goal as the feet were flying in.
With the pressure lifted after the opening goal, City began to look like their old selves from October and November, passing the ball around and looking comfortable on the ball.
Gelson Fernandes was introduced with nine minutes left in place of the tireless Darius Vassell as City needed to weather the final throes of the West Ham fight.
The Blues coped with the Hammers best efforts and could have nicked a second before the end.
But not to worry, Sven's men progress through to the fourth round of the cup and set up a meeting with Bryan Robson's Sheffield United.
Check mcfc.co.uk tomorrow for full selling details.
FULL TIME: City 1-0 West Ham
mcfc.co.uk's Man of the Match: Martin Petrov. Despite some good defensive performances, it was the cleverness of the Bulgarian's cross that made the goal and he carried a threat all night.