Thursday, October 02, 2008

City 2 AC Omonia 1, City win 4-2 on aggregate

"I felt it was important for the development of the team that we progressed into the group stages and we have done that.

"Now we have a number of games in this competition to look forward to.

"I think we can reach the latter stages so let's hope for a decent draw and see what we can do."

>>Mark Hughes

It was a night when the overall result was always going to be more important than the performance, and so it proved.

A largely forgettable first-half was only kept alive by the vociferous band of AC Omonia supporters as we struggled to create or really get anything going, whilst our opponents were surprisingly lacklustre themselves, appearing far keener on falling further behind as opposed to pressing for an early goal.

We pressed well at times and there was some nice movement in the opposition half - sparked mainly by Wright-Phillips who was once again excellent, but a lack of end product did for us time and time again as it ended goalless at the end of a frustrating first-half.

The game needed a goal heading into the second half and we didn't have to wait long as a bright piece of play resulted in Robinho squaring a nice ball for the previously disappointing Elano to hit home from the edge of the area.

The goal brought us to life as we then had one foot in the group stages, and a twenty minute spell saw some wonderful play going forward - often sparked by Ireland, who combined some wonderful touches and vision with some tireless running, and it was no surprise that a second goal was added as Shaun Wright-Phillips took advantage of a fortuitous bounce to make it 2-0 and put the game beyond doubt.

A trio of substitutions saw Hamman, Evans and the returning Petrov (who looked lively) brought into action and our attacking dominance continued, although this did result in some carelessness at the back which allowed AC Omonia to create a handful of opportunities but it was a set piece that gave them a glimmer of hope as Ben Haim lost his man to leave Hart with no chance from a close range header.

One or two nervous moments followed - namely some poor handling from Hart, but it would have taken a collapse of immense proportions to throw this game away and ultimately we safely progressed through.

As Hughes says, it was an important win and the objective when we first travelled to EB/Streymur was to achieve qualification to the group stages, so it is a case of job done.

There will undoubtedly be far sterner tests ahead though pending the outcome of tomorrow's draw.

vote it up!

No comments: