City turn it on for sheikh but fail to break Hamburg

Manchester City 2 Hamburg 1 (Hamburg win 4-3 on aggregate)

"And on the sixth day God created Manchester City". That is what it says on the banner they place on the club's East Stand balcony. It was at eye level from the seat the chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, took up last night but the thoughts which will have consumed him concern the years it might take for mere mortals, even those with millions to spend, to reconstruct this club.

City exited the Uefa Cup with a win and with some great spirit on a night of high emotion which will help preserve the job of Mark Hughes and which provided a tantalising glimpse of what the promised land might one day bring. The City manager spent three hours yesterday afternoon with Mubarak, who did not arrive at the stadium until 3.30pm, and together they mapped out plans for the future. "I'm still here [in a job] and I'm fine," Hughes said. It is felt that the atmosphere in a stadium near its 48,000 capacity has helped Hughes, whose club have done him a favour by ensuring, immediately after victory in the last round again Aalborg, that Mubarak was here to experience the quarter-final atmosphere.

Among the subtleties lost on Mubarak, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan's personal representative, is that the individual who did most to stoke up the noise is one so far removed from Hughes' chosen few. The Brazilian Elano is an awkward individual who only played because of Shaun Wright-Phillips' unavailability but his performance - singled out as "outstanding" by Hughes - shows that those who do not always play things the manager's way can sometimes do the job. While Stephen Ireland, the individual who has railed against others' lack of effort last week, was curiously muted amid the cacophony of noise, Elano was busily thumping a free-kick which reverberated against the Hamburg bar and cracking another against the outside of the post.

After the disquiet caused by Fulham's 3-1 win on Sunday, the only boos directed at Hughes last night came when he pulled him from the field five minutes before time. The manager was careful to applaud a player adored by Eastlands, if not by him. It was a good night for the Brazilians all round; Robinho worked well with his compatriot to prove himself a little more worthy of that £160,000 a week, too.

A 15-minute spell after the interval might be the one which does most to help Hughes live to fight another day. City were behind after 12 minutes when Richard Dunne failed to cope with the low cross which the Peruvian Paolo Guerrero stabbed into the net ahead of Vincent Kompany but level from an Elano penalty five minutes later when Piotr Trochowski was adjudged to have handled the Brazilian's free-kick when it actually hit his shoulder. After that they simply refused to allow their season to vanish.

What sound and fury issued from Hughes' side in that period. Felipe Caicedo, another player you probably would not lay any of your £100m on in a game of fantasy football, popped up as he has intermittently since Christmas to drag an Ireland pass past Jerome Boateng and thump it in with his right boot. But he also directed a low Elano corner which evaded the visitors' entire defence over the bar with the net yawning. When the Ecuadorian striker finally put the ball in - latching onto another beautiful pass from Elano - he was adjudged offside, as he was 10 times last night.

Even Rome wasn't built in 10 days, though Hughes captured his side's spirit afterwards. "We will take encouragement from this performance," he said. "We needed to make a statement, to come out and show there are things happening here. We are at the beginning of a long journey."

But the cold reality is that, for all the £100m thrown at it, City's season is over in mid-April and the Abu Dhabis face a long, hard summer persuading big names to join a club without so much as Europa League football next season in all likelihood. "The significance of Europe isn't as great as people are making out," Hughes insisted. Perhaps the significance of the big names isn't either.

Martin Jol, whose side progress to an all-German semi-final with Werder Bremen and a possible domestic league and cup double, rejoiced at having won "at a club who've spent £30m on two of our players" [Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong] and Hughes' priority is to build a team of earthy footballing qualities like his. For starters, he needs a captain who does not get sent off four times in a year - Dunne's two yellows, the second for barging over substitute Mladen Petric, were justified. There were two gilt-edged chances for City after Dunne's departure - Micah Richards ballooning one over - but it was not to be. Six days? This job will take many, many months.

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Given; Richards, Dunne, Onuoha, Bridge; Zabaleta (Fernandes, 77), Kompany; Elano (Sturridge, 85), Ireland, Robinho; Caicedo. Substitutes not used: Hart (gk), Garrido, Petrov, Evans, Logan.

Hamburg (4-4-2): Rost; Boateng, Gravgaard, Mathijsen, Jansen; Trochowski (Petric, 73), Jarolim, Aogo, Pitroipa; Olic, Guerrero. Substitutes not used: Hesl (gk), Silva, Ndjeng, Rincon, Schulz, Torun.

Referee: N Rizzoli (Italy).

* German and Ukrainian teams make up the last four in the Uefa Cup, with Werder Bremen facing Hamburg in the semi-finals, while Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk both went through to set up another domestic showdown. The Brazilian playmaker Diego scored twice, as he did in the quarter-final first leg, to help Werder draw 3-3 with Udinese in Italy to record a 6-4 aggregate victory.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence