Sunday, January 3, 2010

Manchester City's forgotten man Benjani scored his first goal

A goal from Benjani was enough to see a depleted Manchester City side progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough.

Benjani pounced on the stroke of half time after good work from Martin Petrov to earn his side the victory in a hard-fought encounter.

On a bitterly cold afternoon at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough named the same side that lost to Barnsley.

All the while Mancini was looking on with a knowing eye, not afraid to back his judgement or make tactical switches as necessary

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini made several changes for his first taste of FA Cup football. Youngsters Vladimir Weiss and Dedryck Boyata were named in the starting eleven along with Benjani.

Some City fans didn’t make it over the treacherous M62 but those who did saw boss Roberto Mancini clock up a third straight win in charge and a third clean sheet.

Gareth Barry, Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy were all named among the substitutes but were all brought on in the second half.

Martin Petrov played a one-two with Benjani on the edge of the box but his effort failed to trouble Danny Coyne in the Boro goal.

On the stroke of half time City got themselves ahead with Petrov and Benjani combining again.

The Bulgarian raced through the Middlesbrough midfield and played in Benjani on the right hand side of the box, who fired his effort into the corner of the net to give his side the lead.

Manchester City were much more comfortable in the second half than they were in the first. The in-form Tevez was a threat throughout racing past a couple of Boro defenders before firing straight at Coyne from the edge of the box.

The home side had a great chance to equalize after 63 minutes. Tony McMahon crossed from the left but Rhys Williams could only loop his header onto the roof of the net.

City almost sealed the game from the resulting goal-kick. Chris Riggott failed to deal with the long ball and Carlos Tevez pounced, rounding the keeper but failing to hit the target, when it looked a certainty to score.

In a frantic end to the game Petrov, Tevez and Bellamy all had chances to score late on but somehow failed to hit the back of the net.

With almost the last kick of the game, the ball fell to Jonathan Franks in the box but his shot was blocked and scrambled away by the City defence and they held on to their lead.

It was a tough game for Mancini's side but they will be happy to see their name in the hat for the next round.


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