Man City stroll into group stages of UEFA Cup

Man City stroll into group stages of UEFA Cup

Manchester City 2 AC Omonia 1 (Manchester City win 4-2 on aggregate)

England manager Fabio Capello got a further indication of Shaun Wright Phillips’ growing confidence as the winger helped steer Manchester City into the group stages of the UEFA Cup.

Wright-Phillips scored his fourth goal in his second spell for the club following his £9m move from Chelsea in August.

It was just the lift City needed in the 55th minute after Elano had made the breakthrough seven minutes earlier.

Manager Mark Hughes had called on his team to put this tie to bed early but they took their time to settle against a team unbeaten in their domestic league.

They could have taken the lead inside the second minute when Elano picked out Micah Richards but his header went straight into Antonis Georgallides’ arms.

Twelve minutes later Robinho made space for himself after a decent spell of possession by the ambitious Cypriot side.

However, the Brazil striker was left with a feeling of frustration as his effort went across the face of the goal and out of play.

Then Robinho tried his luck from distance but his shot failed to trouble the goalkeeper and went high over the bar.

City were looking for the slightest thing to get them going and won a free-kick in the 34th minute when Wright-Phillips was bundled over by Marcello Pletsch.

Elano’s delivery to the back post failed to test the Omonia defence but they had begun to make strides and find some rhythm to their play.

Stephen Ireland cracked in a shot in the 37th minute that was deflected to safety by Costas Kaiafas.

Two minutes later, Ireland again strode forward and got on the end of a pass from Jo, only to see his effort blocked at the near post.

Pablo Zabaleta then swung in a cross from the right and Jo showed good awareness to get a touch when everyone else had given up.

Jo tried to lay the ball off into the path of Robinho but the ball went behind his fellow Brazilian and the move broke down.

Robinho almost gave City the lead a minute into the second half when he cut inside and sent his effort narrowly wide of the post.

But they did not have long to wait with Robinho showing he is a team player along with his other obvious assets.

The £32.5m buy laid the ball into the path of Elano two minutes later and he drilled a shot beyond the goalkeeper and into the corner.

It was a fine finish by another one of the four Brazilians in City’s squad. Elano’s goal extended their lead and seven minutes later they were celebrating again.

Wright-Phillips danced away from two defenders in the 55th minute before smashing a shot home to put City 4-1 ahead on aggregate.

It was another indication of the winger’s love for the club and why Hughes is touting him for an England recall.

With the game against Liverpool to follow on Sunday, Hughes took off Kompany and Jo and replaced the pair with Dietmar Hamann and Ched Evans in the 67th minute.

Robinho’s shot was then clawed to safety at his post by the goalkeeper before he was given a breather with Martin Petrov coming on for his first action following a hamstring injury.

City, though, took their foot off the pedal and paid the price in the 78th minute when Omonia pulled a goal back.

Substitute Rasheed Alabi got on the end of a corner from Efstathios Aloneftis to send a header beyond Joe Hart.

However, City completed the job they started in Nicosia to continue their European adventure.

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