Dzeko strike secures all three points
FA Premier League
Tuesday 7 May 2013, 19.45 KO
City: Hart, Richards (c), K Toure, Lescott, Kolarov, Milner, Rodwell (Maicon 75), Garcia, Nasri (Barry 73), Tevez (Razak 90), Dzeko
Unused: Pantilimon, Nastasic, Silva, Aguero
Goals: Dzeko (34)
Booked: Kolarov, Nasri
Referee: Phil Dowd
Man of the Match: Micah Richards
It was a frantic start to the game, with both sides pushing to take the early advantage. Richards came back into the starting line up and announced it with a trademark run down the right. Lukaku smashed a shot just wide of the post, with Hart at full stretch, before the England keeper was alert to stop a powerful header from the Belgian.
With 20 minutes played, City came alive and began to take the game to the visitors. Myhill spilt a cross from the left straight to the feet of Rodwell, but the midfielder couldn’t adjust quickly enough and missed the target with his effort. Kolarov was then perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch, as he came close to decapitating Tamas… okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but his foot was high and the Albion man ducked into the header causing a collision. The referee showed leniency and showed a yellow card.
City stepped it up: Tevez curled an effort over the bar from the edge of the box, before Milner smashed an effort wide as it broke to him in the box. Rodwell then missed his kick as Kolarov’s cross bounced to him inside the area and, from the very same move, the ball found Tevez on the edge of the box and he smashed a shot into the crossbar.
And as the hosts had got on top, they went on to take the lead. Tevez broke down the right flank and found a cross to Dzeko arriving in the area. It was just behind the Bosnian, who adjusted to side-foot volley at goal. It beat the defender and Myhill got a touch, but he couldn’t keep it out and the home side made their pressure pay.
As half time approached, Rodwell had a shot deflected wide that left the goalkeeper rooted, before Milner struck the foot of the post from long range, as the home side looked to double their advantage. The half came to a close with City pressure and the blues deserved to be in the lead.
However, the second half was a different story: It started when Rosenburg smashed a free kick into the crossbar with the goalkeeper nowhere near it and, from the rebound, Hart made a brilliant save to scoop the ball away from the line, as Jones tried to force it into the net. Hart was in action shortly after, tipping Morrison’s low drive around the post, before Kolo Toure blocked from Lukaku, as West Brom countered.
There was some relief for the home defence on the hour mark, as the hosts should have scored their second goal of the night. Dzeko fired in a shot that was blocked, after receiving a low ball into the box. Tevez tried a shot from the rebound, which was again blocked on the line, before it was crossed to Rodwell at the back post, but his volley was pushed behind by Myhill.
With ten minutes to play, Long escaped Lescott’s attention and fired in a shot, but it was inches wide of the post. Maicon then unleashed an effort from the edge of the six-yard box, as he tried to smash an outside-of-the-foot shot towards the top corner. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but the fans saw the funny side as the second tier of the North Stand took the brunt of the shot.
It became end-to-end for the final few minutes, as Odemwingie fired over from just inside the box, before Milner picked out the gloves of Myhill as City looked to secure the points. Barry also had an effort from the edge of the box easily collected by the goalkeeper, following a bursting forward run by Maicon.
City held out, though, and secured Champions League football for the third season running.