We are leaking too many goals, admits Mancini
Manchester City 4 Leicester City 2
Wednesday 19 January 2011
Tongue presumably in cheek, Sven Goran Eriksson had told Roberto Mancini that one of the attractions of this replay was that it would give him a chance to see his old office again. If Leicester's rather improbable manager and his protégé from his days in Italy settled down for a glass of wine there, Eriksson might have reminded Mancini that his foray into the FA Cup with Manchester City was ended at Sheffield United by a shot deflected off a balloon. Then, Eriksson was part of a club that still exited competitions with a smoking revolver and bleeding feet.
Had he possessed a footballer of Carlos Tevez's ability, the Swede might have lasted longer and the Argentine was the principal reason why Eriksson was denied a fourth-round reunion with another of his former clubs, Notts County, who had treated him even more shabbily than Manchester City. When Eriksson was director of football at Meadow Lane, he tried to persuade Mancini to manage the club and the Italian laughed when reminded that turning them down was one of his wiser decisions. "I am very happy at Manchester City," he said.
He was, however, not especially happy at the quality of his side's defending, which has seen City concede seven times in their last three games – not the kind of numbers upon which Mancini built his reputation. "Our defending has been so-so," he said. "I don't like 4-2 or 4-3 results. It is good for you but not good for me. I prefer 4-1s or 2-0s and 1-0s. Those are the results that win you titles."
When Lloyd Dyer ran through to glide home Yuki Abe's ball in front of the 6,000 who had travelled up from the Midlands there were seven minutes left for an enterprising Leicester side to force extra-time. Their ambition was snuffed out by a surgical shot from the edge of the area by Aleksandar Kolarov, a left-back. City are a very different club.
The match had been billed as a tribute to Neil Young ,who had driven the winner into the roof of the Wembley net in the 1969 final between these two sides, but who is now fighting desperately against the ravages of cancer. Then, Manchester City had played in a strip copied from the red-and-black stripes of Milan, an affectation that in the days when Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison were at their managerial peak did not seem so outrageous.
Manchester City might very soon invite further comparisons with the Rossoneri and they came out in the kit of 42 years ago, each man with Young's name on his back. By the time they kicked off in familiar sky blue, Tevez was fashioning a tribute of his own in a language Young would have recognised.
He was as good as he had been in the 4-3 win against Wolverhampton on Saturday, which is to say he was irresistible. There were five Leicester players around him when he took a short throw under control, slalomed past Abe and Jack Hobbs, and sent his shot over the despairing gloves of Chris Weale.
His contribution to Manchester City's second was in its way equally as good – a fabulous measured pass that found Pablo Zabaleta on the right-hand side of the Leicester area. Zabaleta pulled the ball back for David Silva, much as Mike Summerbee had done for Young in 1969, but this time the shot was blocked on the line only for the rebound to be stabbed home by Patrick Vieira. Almost as good was the exchange of passes with Yaya Touré and the run through a defensive wall that only came to a halt through a collision with the keeper.
Tevez was denied a penalty then but got one a dozen minutes after the restart when, again clean through, he was tripped by Hobbs, who probably deserved but was not shown a red card. The penalty was delayed while stewards, some of whom got no nearer to a pitch invader than Leicester's defenders had to Tevez, made ponderous efforts to remove a fan. The spot-kick was, however, saved by Weale's legs.
Seventy-seven seconds after the second, the tie looked over as another beautifully judged ball, this time from Silva, found Adam Johnson who put it away with the style that is inherent in his game.
It would, however, be hard to argue that Eriksson's side were overwhelmed. They attacked early and had equalised when Dyer ran between Joleon Lescott and Vieira and was tripped by the Frenchman. Paul Gallagher, who was to limp off injured barely 10 minutes later, drove his penalty into the dead centre of Joe Hart's goal.
As Mancini had reminded him before kick-off, but for Hart's lapse of concentration in Leicester, there would have been no replay at all. However, when Andy King's shot deflected wickedly off Lescott's body, a goal seemed obvious until Hart's reaction. Mancini may speak in broken English but his words are heeded.
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov; Vieira, Milner; Johnson, Y Touré (Jo, 78), Silva (Barry, 64); Tevez. Substitutes not used Given (gk), K Touré, De Jong, Boyata, Nimely.
Leicester City (4-1-4-1): Weale; Naughton, Bamba, Hobbs, Berner; Abe; Dyer, King, Wellens (Oakley, 46), Gallagher (Moussa, 30); Howard (Waghorn, 68). Substitutes not used Logan (gk), Neilson, Teixeira, Waghorn, N'quessan, Moussa.
Man of the match Tevez
Match rating 8/10
Referee M Halsey (Lancashire).
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