Hughes hails perfect City show

Schalke 04 0 Manchester City 2

Goals from Benjani and Stephen Ireland gave Manchester City a precious Uefa Cup victory at Schalke.

Benjani found the back of the net in the 32nd minute following a neat cross from Daniel Sturridge, who featured instead of the injured Robinho, before Ireland doubled the lead in the 67th minute.

The win in Gelsenkirchen puts Mark Hughes' side top of Group A and they need just one point from the final two pool matches to secure passage to the next round. "It couldn't have gone any better for us," Hughes said, "we had a game plan and the players executed it perfectly – it was a very accomplished performance."

The City manager made two changes from the side that beat Arsenal 3-0 at the weekend, with Sturridge replacing Robinho, who was nursing an ankle injury. The former Germany international Dietmar Hamann also found himself in the starting line-up, replacing Pablo Zabaleta (thigh). Vincent Kompany and Richard Dunne featured as centre-backs, with Micah Richards and Javier Garrido completing the back four. Also missing for the visitors were Elano, for personal reasons, and Gelson Fernandes (hamstring).

Sturridge set the pace for an entertaining first half just five minutes into the game when he delivered a dangerous cross from the left which flew past everybody. Joe Hart then made a spectacular diving save after Heiko Westermann had sent Jermaine Jones into the clear with an incisive midfield pass.

The Germany midfielder pulled the trigger from 14 yards out on the right, but Hart diverted the ball for a corner. The Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was alert too, catching a promising cross from Richards under pressure. After Hart saved a 20-yard volley from Jones, Darius Vassell tried his luck with a shot from outside the right corner of the box which flew well wide.

There were chances on either side, with Neuer saving a header from Vassell and Hart clearing from Kevin Kuranyi inside the six-yard box. The visitors eventually opened the scoring in the 32nd minute following a superb counter-attack.

Kompany turned the ball over for Sturridge to dart down the left wing and the 19-year-old outstripped his opponent and fired in a low cross. It failed to reach Ireland in the middle but Benjani was there at the far post to sweep the ball home.

Schalke failed to create any significant openings in the rest of the half but were vulnerable to counter-attacks, with Neuer denying Ireland from 14 yards out. The rebound was driven in by Benjani and Ireland knocked it home – only for the linesman to raise his flag.

Michael Ball replaced Garrido after the break as City's defence continued to stand tall against Schalke's toothless attacks. It was the visitors who had the first chance of the half when Shaun Wright-Phillips' right-footed shot from 30 yards out forced Neuer into a good save. Richards then saw the first yellow card of the match for stopping a Halil Altintop counter-attack. The resulting free-kick, however, brought no danger.

Ireland was also cautioned shortly afterwards – but moments later, in the 67th minute, the midfielder found the back of the net for a second time, this time legitimately. Benjani had a strike blocked in the left channel, and the ball landed at the feet of the unmarked Ireland who easily beat Neuer with a low shot.

The sell-out crowd of 54,142 fans grew impatient with their team's fruitless attempts to break down City's defence. Substitute Gerald Asamoah came closest in the 76th minute, but his header from seven yards out was superbly saved by Hart. Jo then replaced Benjani in the 84th minute, and the in-form striker received a standing ovation from the 3,000 City fans in attendance as the game drew to a close.

Schalke 04: Neuer; Westermann, Rakitic (Asamoah, 63), Bordon (Howedes, 73), Pander, Engelaar, Jones, Rafinha, Farfan, Altintop (Sanchez, 80), Kuranyi. Substitutes not used: Schober (gk), Kobiashvili, Ernst, Zambrano.

Manchester City: Hart; Richards, Kompany, Dunne, Garrido (Ball, h-t), Wright-Phillips, Hamann, Ireland, Vassell, Mwaruwari (Jo, 84), Sturridge. Substitutes not used: Schmeichel (gk), Evans, Ben-Haim, Berti, Logan.

Referee: A Tudor (Romania).


Manchester City have not lost away in Europe for 29 years – though have only played six matches.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape