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REPORT: CITY V SPURS

Posted on 16 March 2008  - 12:00

Robbie Keane's 21st goal of the season proved not to be enough as Manchester City came from behind to snatch a 2-1 victory at Eastlands on Sunday afternoon.

Robbie Keane's 21st goal of the season proved not to be enough as Manchester City came from behind to snatch a 2-1 victory at Eastlands on Sunday afternoon.It looked pretty promising when territorial sway was rewarded by Keane's arrowed effort that landed high in the net, but two goals out of nothing in the second half saw us defeated at the City of Manchester Stadium for the first time.

A few minutes in Keane sought to fire the game up by first prodding to Alan Hutton who, in turn, chipped back into the path of the striker who was left to battle with Nedum Onuoha before flashing across goal just a little too far in front of the advancing Aaron Lennon.

The passing was slick and progressive in the opening 15 minutes, mostly from the team in white shirts. Michael Dawson's flighted throughball got Keane on the chase and he would have been in had the ball not picked up pace on landing and skidded through to Joe Hart in the City goal.

After the momentum of the game tapering off to a large degree, Dawson was then in the thick of it in front of our goal. He slid in to deny Michael Johnson and the ball hit his chest, despite pleas for a penalty before Elano picked up on the top corner of the area and shot goalwards. Benjani connected with the shot and helped it on with his head and it took a combination of Dawson and Paul Robinson to frustrate City.

They were further frustrated on 31 minutes when an ambling run down the left from Pascal Chimbonda led to a stabbed ball through to pick out the angled run of Keane who took a touch before slamming right-footed past the outstretched hand of Hart. It made it 13 Premier League goals for the popular marksman.

At the other end a magnificent challenge from Chimbonda and a smart save from Robinson thwarted the attacking intentions of Johnson and Elano. Lennon then popped a shot wide and then Nery Castillo sped away towards goal with Chimbonda in hot pursuit, but overcooked his final touch and Robinson was able to foil.

Lennon was replaced at the interval by Tom Huddlestone, but it was City who came closest to scoring the first goal of the half when Benjani picked out Castillo in and around the six yard box, but a combination of defenders and Robbo saw him quickly outnumbered.

Huddlestone tried to put his marker on the game but his effort was gathered by Hart before City netted a fortunate leveller on 59 minutes. A deep Benjani cross was the target of a miscue by Castillo but Elano was able to nod towards goal and an offside-looking Stephen Ireland helped guide past Robinson from a few yards out.

Juande Ramos made a double change bringing on Darren Bent and Jamie O'Hara for the goalscorer Keane and Malbranque. In truth, the game needed a bit of a livener from our perspective as it had become laboured and scrappy.

A price for this was paid on 71 minutes when an Elano corner kick was rammed home by the head of Onuoha.

Bent squeezed the ball into the City net with five minutes remaining but his joy was curtailed by the flag of the assistant, raised for a reason that was not immediately clear.

The toil of extra-time in midweek was perhaps taking its toll as the game wore on but this will go down as an unlikely defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.