Adebayor rises to striking challenge with emphatic treble

Manchester City 3 Lech Poznan 1
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The Independent Online

Manchester City have been breaking all kinds of club records and will no doubt continue to do so amid the revolution at Eastlands. Emmanuel Adebayor, out of favour for so long, was the unlikely latest player to earn a place in their hall of fame, becoming the first-ever City player to score a European hat-trick.

The win put City within touching distance of the knockout stages of the Europa League. But for the Togo striker, this meant much more. Adebayor, fresh from warning that he would look to leave if he continued to be deprived of a starting place, looked a lost soul at Blackpool last Sunday in a rare audition.

Handed another against Lech Poznan last night, the £25m striker who proved his worth at Arsenal, showed a rare glimpse of his talents with this treble – his first goals since May. This could finally kick-start his season, ironically with old club Arsenal next up on Sunday.

"It was a difficult game for us and it was good to score," said Adebayor afterwards. "I'm enjoying my game here. I'm training hard every day and I'm very happy. The most important thing is to help the team win the game.

"I'm very happy to have won the game and score three goals. I'm back scoring goals so I'm happy. I hope there's more to come."

With Carlos Tevez a certain starter, the striker would finally have given Roberto Mancini food for thought. Perhaps Adebayor will now be "trusted" for a top match. The visit of Arsène Wenger's side certainly fits that bill, even if he has history, having run the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans last season.

Mancini said afterwards: "I'm happy with the result. It was important for the team in what was an excellent performance. It's important where we are in the group. A good day for the squad

"It was important for us and him [Adebayor]. He scored three goals and I'm happy with him. There's a good chance he could play against Arsenal. It's important that Manu finds a good way of playing well for the team."

The Blackpool match aside, Mancini has opted for Tevez, with Adebayor warming the bench. Asked whether that policy could change, Mancini said: "Carlos and Manu can play together. My team usually plays with two strikers. It can happen."

If it is to happen, Adebayor can do no more than he did last night. It took only 13 minutes for the man who was so poor against Blackpool to remind the Manchester City fans of just what he is capable of.

It was a fine individual goal, expertly swivelling on Patrick Vieira's pass and taking the ball around the Poznan captain, Bartosz Bosacki, before slotting home.

It was certainly against the run of play, with Poznan looking lively and threatening on more than one occasion. But the Poles, with a 7,000-strong travelling support, were left wondering how they then managed to fall further behind to Adebayor's textbook header in the 24th minute.

However bad the Togo striker may have been at Bloomfield Road, here he was a different animal altogether. Adam Johnson combined with David Silva before the Spaniard's cross was met with a thunderous header from Adebayor, no mean task giving his leap from a standing position eight yards out.

It should have been a straightforward second half for the hosts. But Manchester City, with a largely second-string side given a run-out, do not seem to know that word at the moment.

Joleon Lescott was fortunate to escape without conceding a penalty for hauling down Slawomir Peszko, but Pablo Zabaleta got himself into a tangle and Joel Tshibamba fired home in the 48th minute.

The hosts were wobbling and it could have been a whole lot worse if Tshibamba, left onside after more disjointed defending, then missed a glorious chance in the 70th minute.

He was made to rue that moments later as Adebayor completed his hat-trick, collecting Silva's pass and looking a man full of confidence as he swept the ball home. Adebayor could have added to his tally late on.

"We were very good in the first-half," added Mancini. "The first 20 minutes of the second half wasn't so good. But it was an important win against a side that can cause plenty of problems."

The win, at the halfway stage of the competition's group phase, leaves Manchester City in pole position to qualify from their section.

It may have not been another masterclass from the big-spending side, but Mancini's men seem to get the job done. "This game is the difference between Polish and English football," admitted Poznan coach Jacek Zielinksi. "They showed us what the modern football game should look like."

Group A

Results so far Juventus 3 Lech Poznan 3, Salzburg 0 Manchester City 2; Lech Poznan 2 Salzburg 0, Manchester City 1 Juventus 1; Manchester City 3 Lech Poznan 1, Salzburg 1 Juventus 1.

Manchester City's remaining fixtures 4 Nov Lech Poznan (a); 1 Dec Salzburg (h); 16 Dec Juventus (a).

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Lescott, Richards, Boyata, Zabaleta (Bridge, 85); De Jong, Vieira; Wright-Phillips (Jo, 77), Silva (Touré, 75), A Johnson; Adebayor. Substitutes not used Given (gk), Bridge, Kompany, Milner, Tevez.

Lech Poznan (4-2-3-1): Buric; Kikut, Bosacki, Arboldeda (Djurdevic, 69), Henriquez; Injac, Drygas (Rudnevs, 55); Peszko, Krivets, Wilk (Stilic, 55); Tshibamba Substitutes not used Kotorowski (gk), Gancarczyk, Zapotoka, Wichniarek.

Referee AD Tudor (Romania).

Attendance 33,388

Man of the match Adebayor.

Match rating 6/10.

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