City took a grip on Europa League Group A with a comfortable and stylish victory over Lech Poznan.
It was the big striker who made sure the points stayed in the City of Manchester Stadium with a glittering hat-trick in a surprisingly open contest that fizzled all night. With Salzburg and Juve drawing, the win leaves the Blues three points clear in Group A
One astute ball from Vieira and a drag back by Adebayor was all it took for the Togo man to find himself in enough space to roll the ball into the corner of the net for the opening goal in the 14th minute.
Poznan have struggled all season in defence their title in their homeland but have been much more proficient in Europa scoring three times in a draw at Juventus and then defeating Salzburg by the same score the Blues had done.
They were backed here by 3,000 fans from Poland and another 4,500 who had been drawn from all over Britain. It made for a lively atmosphere on a raw evening and even the opening goal of the contest didn’t prevent those visitors behind the goal going through their party pieces including turning their backs on the contest and bouncing.
The second goal seemed to stun the Polish fans more. Again it was a fluent effort with Adebayor starting the move that ended with him nodding David Silva’s cross into the same bottom corner his shot had found 11 minutes earlier.
It was quite a way to double a total for the night and, at that point, for the season.
To their credit Poznan kept their shape and composure showing decent pace and skill on the break through Wilk and Kikut but they were never serious contenders in the first half from the moment Adebayor’s second flew beyond Jasmin Buric.
That momentum changed after the break when Joel Tshibamba thumped the Poles back into contention, halving the deficit from ten yards after the whole City defence was guilty of ball-watching following Peszko’s theatrics in the box as he looked for a penalty.
That was the cue for a mass strip – shirts only – by the entertaining visiting supporters but their team was still largely second best thanks to the silky skills of Silva who gets better by the week and looks as though he is enjoying life in East Manchester a great deal.
Adebayor was denied a hat-trick by the late intervention of Injac, Silva saw his mazy run and firm shot shovelled around the upright and there followed a moderate amount of nail biting especially when Tshibamba looked likely to equal Adebayor’s scoring feat and the scoreline but lofted over the bar from eight yards in the 70th minute.
Fingers were then firmly out of mouths in the 73rd minute when Adebayor made it 3-1 clinically finishing a wonderful move that saw the ball moved quickly and accurately between Wright-Phillips, Vieira and inevitably Silva.
The exquisitely weighted final ball to Adebayor was the final act for the Spaniard who was withdrawn to await sterner opposition on Sunday.
It’s not often a hat-trick scorer is given a tight run for man of the match but Adebayor would have had no complaints had he lost out in a photo to Silva.
Stadings in group A following this match:
|1||Manchester City FC||3||1||1||0||1||0||0||2||1||0||6||2||4||7|
|2||KKS Lech Poznań||3||1||0||0||0||1||1||1||1||1||6||6||0||4|