Europa League Round of 32, Leg Two
Wednesday 22 February 2012, 17.00 KO
City: Hart, Richards, Kompany (c), Lescott, Clichy, de Jong, Barry (Milner 58), Nasri (Dzeko 69), Y Toure, Silva, Aguero (Pizarro 82)
Unused: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Savic, Balotelli
Goals: Aguero (1), Dzeko (76), Silva (84), Pizarro (87)
Booked: Y Toure
Referee: Wolfgang Stark
Man of the Match: Sergio Aguero
City couldn’t have wished for a better start to the second leg of their Europa League tie, as, within the first 23 seconds, the home side had the lead. An interception from de Jong found Yaya Toure, who, in turn, slotted the ball for Aguero to run on to. He made no mistake with his one-on-one, sliding the ball across the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner of the net.
But, if the home fans were hoping that that goal would open the floodgates early on, they would have been disappointed. Porto tried to get themselves back into the game, but were struggling to create a shooting chance, against a City side that – with an aggregate 3-1 lead – were happy to concede possession on the halfway line. Rolando was booked for a pull back on Aguero and Yaya Toure had a shot saved, with Nasri missing the rebound.
Moutinho whipped a free kick over Hart’s crossbar, before Aguero rounded Helton on the edge of the box and tried to chip the covering defender. He looked to have perfected it, with both the Porto players beaten, but the ball crashed back off the crossbar and away to safety. City could have doubled their lead straight after, as Aguero found Toure on the break, but the ball across took him too wide and Porto were off the hook.
Early in the second half, the visitors had the ball in the net, but they were thwarted by the linesman’s flag, before they lost Otamendi to a nasty eye injury – after he was caught in the face by his own man Maicon at a City corner.
Porto were in control of the ball for large spells of the match, but they weren’t creating much to worry Hart. While it felt like backs against the walls time for City, in truth, the visitors seemed a little toothless – summed up in City adding their second of the night and fourth of the tie. Aguero broke with the ball down the left and squared for Dzeko, who nutmegged Helton and sealed the victory. In the aftermatch, Rolando saw his second yellow card and was dismissed to round off a miserable night in the rain for the visitors.
As the game entered its last ten minutes, the visitors capitulated. Pizarro fought well down the right wing to win the ball back and keep City on the front foot. He took back from Dzeko, squared for Silva and, faced with an open goal, the Spaniard couldn’t miss.
And it got better for the home fans: Dzeko laid the ball off the Pizarro on the edge of the box, but there wasn’t room for the loan signing to shoot. Instead, he chipped the ball over the challenged and bundled his way through into the box, before coolly sliding his one-on-one past Helton to make it four.
It was a big victory and a good European performance over two legs for City.