Omonia Nicosia 1 Manchester City 2: Jo's double rescues City from Nicosia nightmare
Friday 19 September 2008
With the £32.5m Robinho in their ranks, Manchester City were forced to contemplate an ignominious defeat in the first leg of their first-round Uefa Cup tie here last night when they went behind to the Cypriot side Omonia Nicosia. But two goals from Flo – his first for the club – should ensure that they reach the group stages.
The £19m summer signing from CSKA Moscow scored in the 59th and 72nd minutes after missing a string of good chances.
City almost made the breakthrough in the second minute when Robinho found space in the penalty area, but goalkeeper Antonis Giorgallides did well to parry to safety. Robinho then showed a nice bit of skill with a back-heel to Elano on the left but he failed to take advantage of the opening.
City kept up the pressure, but squandered a glorious chance of taking the lead in the 27th minute when Stephen Ireland squared the ball across the face of the penalty area and into the path of Jo. However, with the goal gaping, the Brazilian appeared to take his eye off the ball and he sliced his effort wide.
Omonia were playing with spirit, but were finding it difficult to break down City. Elano then skipped forward in the 39th minute only for Hamad Ndikumana to block his effort. A minute later, Jo came within inches of giving City the lead when his shot beat the goalkeeper but came back off the post. It was Ireland's turn to curse his luck in the 43rd minute after being set up by Jo, his effort also coming back off the woodwork. So City went in at the break all-square when they should have put the tie out of sight.
City were rocked back on their heels in the 49th minute when Omonia opened the scoring. The Albania midfielder Klodian Duro sent the home fans into a frenzy with a stunning free-kick from 18 yards. which whistled past goalkeeper Joe Hart
City roared back and Ireland's goal-bound shot was booted clear by Giorgallidis. Then Jo was again wasteful in the 55th minute after a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, his shot coming back off the crossbar.
City drew level four minutes later after cutting the Omonia defence apart with a swift counter-attack. Shaun Wright-Phillips raced to the byline and released Jo, who made no mistake with his first goal for the club. Wright-Phillips, who returned to the club from Chelsea in the transfer window, was looking lively and his pace was causing the Cypriots major problems.
City scored the winner in the 72nd minute thanks to Jo's second goal of the game which put them firmly in the driving seat. The big striker made no mistake from close range after getting on the end of a cross from Pablo Zabaleta. That gave City reward for their possession and the confidence to hold on for victory.
Omonia Nicosia: Giorgallides; Ndikumana, Wenzel, Papaioannou, Aloneftis (Niculescu, 74), Charalambous, Christofi, Duro, Kaseka, Okkas (Clayton, 81), Aguirre (Hagi, 46). Substitutes not used: Asprogenis, Alabi, Bangura, Cafu, Maris.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Richards, Dunne, Garrido, Kompany (Fernandes, 84), Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Elano (Hamann, 85), Robinho, Jo (Sturridge, 76). Substitutes not used: Schmeichel, Michael Ball, Ben-Haim, Gelson, Evans.
Referee: P Dondarini (Italy).
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