UEFA Cup 1st Round 2nd Leg
2nd October 2008
City Elano(48), Wright-Phillips(55)
City Hart, Zabaleta, Richards, Ben Haim, Garrido, Elano, Kompany, Wright-Phillips, Robinho, Ireland, Jo – Subs Sturridge(unused), Fernandes(unused), Schmeichel(unused), Petrov(70), Hamann(67), Ball(unused), Evans(67)
Omomia Giorgallides, Ndikumana, Wenzel, Pletsch, Wenzel, Charalambous, Chrisofi, Zlogar, Bangura, Aloneftis Okkas – subs Aguirre(unused), Clayton(59), Pantic(unused), Asprogenis(unused), Alabi(45), Cafu(81), Maris(unused)
ELANO CELEBRATES PUTTING CITY 1-0 UP
SWP MAKES IT 2-0
A PAIR of Brazilians and an Englishman who would not look out of place in the famous yellow shirt have ensured Manchester City’s European adventure goes on. Jo opened his account for his new club in the first leg of this tie grabbing both goals in a 2-1 away win in Cyprus.
And last night Elano, the ace who paved the way for the Samba revolution at Eastlands, made sure of City’s passage into the UEFA Cup group stage.
Shaun Wright-Phillips also got in on the act with the 55th-minute second goal.
The England winger is a player whose talents were lost in an unhappy spell at Stamford Bridge. Now he is back home at City and is turning defences inside-out again.
It is little wonder with his speed and skill that he looks perfectly at ease alongside Elano, Jo and Robinho.
National boss Fabio Capello must surely include him in his England squad this Sunday.
It had been a terribly dull first half until a few choice words at the break from boss Mark Hughes clearly sparked City into life.
Three minutes after the restart keeper Joe Hart launched a long kick downfield which Omonia’s Marcello Pletsch let bounce under his foot. That allowed Robinho to break down the left flank before rolling the ball back for Elano.
His strike with the outside of his right foot from 25 yards was unstoppable and arrowed into the bottom left-hand corner.
It was two seven minutes later with creator supreme Robinho at the centre of things again.
He played the ball out wide to Pablo Zabaleta and the full-back in turn found Wright-Phillips just inside the box. The winger forced his way through two challenges before volleying in.
Wright-Phillips said: “I’m just getting used to playing full games again. But I can feel myself getting stronger and stronger and the team is helping me along the way. Obviously it would be fantastic for me to be called up for the England squad.”
Hughes is delighted with the contribution Wright-Phillips is making on his return to City.
He said: “Shaun gives us great energy and great pace down that right-hand side and deserves his goals for the effort he puts in.”
The visitors grabbed a 78th-minute consolation through sub Rasheed Alabi to the delight of their vociferous fans.
Hughes admitted he did feel a sense of frustration at the break at City’s lack of penetration.
He added: “We were not making the best out of the width of the pitch. We were trying to thread balls through the eye of a needle when we needed to spread the play.
“Obviously things picked up in the second half and once we scored we were quite comfortable.”
Hughes believes Elano, in particular, is thriving with his new Brazilian team-mates.
He said: “Elano’s playing down that left-hand side and his combination with Robinho is working well.
“They create space for each other. It is obviously early days in that relationship but you can see it coming into form.
“When you have a player of Robinho’s quality you know you can put the ball anywhere in his vicinity and he’ll control it and free others.
“We’re still working on patterns of play but it is coming together and winning games like this helps the confidence.
“Getting into the group stage of the UEFA Cup will also give a lot of players good experience.”
NEIL CUSTIS WRITING FOR THE SUN 3RD OCTOBER 2008