Given tames the Danes to save City's blushes

AaB Aalborg 2 Manchester City 0 (2-2 on aggregate; Manchester City win 4-3 on penalties)

Shay Given saved two penalties as Manchester City snatched a place in the Uefa Cup quarter-finals last night despite a dramatic late collapse in Aalborg. Protecting a 2-0 lead from the first leg, City were five minutes from progressing in normal time when the Danes staged a late fightback through Luton Shelton and Michael Jakobsen. It was left to Given to spare City's blushes and he delivered by keeping out spot-kicks from Thomas Augustinussen and former Sheffield United forward Shelton.

It was the second time in the competition City had been taken to penalties by Danish opposition after a dramatic win over Midtjylland in the second qualifying round in August. The win kept alive City's hopes, as the last remaining English side in the event, of winning a first major piece of silverware since 1976. Yet, on a bitterly cold night at the Energi Nord Arena, City were almost made to pay for their failure to kill off a tie they had dominated.

"It is relief. It should have been dead and buried – we did it the hard way," said Given. "We could have made it easier for ourselves but thankfully we came out on top." As for his own crucial part in City's hard-fought success, Given shrugged: "Sometimes it is the luck of the draw – happily I saved a couple. We didn't play at our best but we are still in the draw."

Robinho was again below par away from home and was taken off in extra-time, although the Brazilian almost put City through when he hit the crossbar after 83 minutes.

Aalborg, despite needing to chase the game, opted for a safety-first approach in the first half out of fear of conceding an away goal. Only after the break did they begin to show any urgency but the tactic paid off dramatically as they turned the tie on its head in a frantic finale. Until then City, despite playing cautiously themselves, made most of the early running in a contest that lacked bite.

Aalborg had the first of several penalty appeals early in the second half when Kasper Risgard went down under Vincent Kompany's challenge. French referee Stephane Lannoy was unimpressed.

Moments later, City almost caught Aalborg on the break as Stephen Ireland set up Ched Evans, but the Welshman somehow managed to clear the stand from 10 yards.

The Danes had stronger and more vociferous penalty claims turned down on the hour when substitute Javier Garrido felled former Wigan player Andreas Johansson in a 50-50 challenge. Lannoy was immediately surrounded by home players but City were reprieved.

City's attacks were becoming rarer but Robinho went close to settling the tie seven minutes from time when he hit the woodwork after Ireland reached the byline. City soon paid the price for failing to kill off Aalborg as the Danes remarkably broke through twice in the dying moments. First Shelton blasted home from close range as the ball bounced up invitingly inside the area from a right-wing cross.

That set up a nervy finale and City were unable to hang on as the hapless Evans handled a Jakobsen header in the last minute. This time the referee did point to the spot – at the fourth time of asking – and Jakobsen stepped up to smash into the top of the net from the spot.

The visitors looked tired but neither side could create a meaningful opportunity in the additional periods. It came down to penalties and City comfortably tucked away all four of theirs while Given saved from Augustinussen and Shelton.

AaB Aalborg: Zaza; Bogelund, L Nielsen, Jakobsen, Beauchamp, Due, Johansson, Augustinussen, Caca, Risgaard (Tracy, 77), Shelton. Substitutes not used: K Nielsen (gk), Sorensen, Nomvethe,Kristensen, R Nielsen, Dalsgaard.

Manchester City: Given; Richards, Dunne, Onuoha, Bridge (Garrido, 54), Wright-Phillips, Zabaleta, Kompany, Ireland, Robinho, Evans. Substitutes not used: Hart (gk), Berti, Elano, Fernandes, Caicedo, Etuhu.

Referee: S Lannoy (France).

City's Danish shoot-out

Jackobsen (Aalborg) scores 1-0

Evans (Man City) scores 1-1

Johansson (Aalborg) scores 2-1

Elano (City) scores 2-2

Augustinussen (Aalborg) saved

Wright-Phillips (City) scores 2-3

Nomvethe (Aalborg) scores 3-3

Dunne (City) scores 3-4

Shelton (Aalborg) saved

Manchester City win 3-4

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions