0-1 (Benjani 32), 0-2 (Ireland 66)
- Match reports
- Thu 27 Nov 2008, 9:00PM
- Posted by Tim Oscroft
Pre match news
Good evening from the fantastic VELTINS Arena in Gelsenkirchen. The roof is closed and it’s chilly, but we are all set for this UEFA Cup group fixture.
Vincent Kompany returns to Germany and plays in central defence, with Micah Richards shifting to right back. Danny Sturridge plays on the left, and Didi Hamann is in the holding role. We're in the blaze orange third kit.
Vincent Kompany returns to Germany and plays in central defence, with Micah Richards shifting to right back. Danny Sturridge plays on the left, and Didi Hamann is in the holding role.
Sturridge set up our first half-chance of the night after five minutes, crossing after a couple of step-overs, the ball just eluding Benjani in the six yard box. Kevin Kuranyi was causing problems at the other end almost straight away, cutting inside Garrido but only finding Hamann when sliding a pass across the box.
Jermaine Jones harried Garrido a few minutes later and brought a fine save out of Joe Hart, the young keeper just getting enough on it low to his right to deflect the ball wide of the post.
The passionate home support was not fazing City, and Micah Richards popped over a teasing cross on 11 minutes that Neuer cut out before Sturridge could get his head to it.
Jones fired one straight at Hart on 20 minutes, and just afterwards Rakitic was in a threatening position on the edge of the box – but his volley was met by a well-timed block from Richard Dunne.
Vincent Kompany looked to be relishing his return to Germany, and on 32 minutes a neat piece of work from the Belgian international led to City taking the lead! The lanky 22-year-old strode out of defence and found Sturridge on the left with a great pass. The youngster took his time to cross, and initially the move looked over when the ball went in front of Ireland – but Benjani, unmarked on the far side of the six yard area, slotted it home with aplomb for his second European goal of the season.
We had the ball in the net again on 39 minutes, when Stevie Ireland tapped in from close range after another swift break, but the linesman’s flag was up for offside straight away.
The hosts had a free kick just outside the box with three minutes to the break, but solid defending saw the shot from Kuranyi charged down. SWP had two bites at the cherry at the other end with a couple of crosses that came to nought. Half time came with a crescendo of whistles from the home fans.
Michael Ball replaced Javi Garrido for the second half.
Schalke pressured for 10 minutes until we broke away, and after good hold-up play from Sturridge, SWP unleashed a fierce shot that Neuer did well to claw away.
The City contingent, many of whom arrived late due to traffic problems, were out-singing the home fans, and a stadium announcement referring to them as ‘Man U fans’ only increased the volume.
The home support were really on their team’s case and they had more reason to moan when City doubled the lead on 66 minutes. Benjani’s deflected shot caused confusion in the defence and up popped Stephen Ireland to tap it home from close range. Cue more chants of ‘Istanbul we are coming’!
Schalke were close to getting one back on 75 minutes, but a marvellous save from Joe Hart denied Asamoah’s header.
Many home fans began to head for the exits with 10 minutes left, frustrated by their side’s lack of potency in front of goal. Jo replaced Benjani with six minutes to go.
We wound down the clock superbly and full time came to a magnificent ovation from the City fans, which was visibly appreciated by the team.