City win battle but lose war

Manchester City 2 Hamburg 1 (agg 3-4)

Manchester City 2 Hamburg 1 (agg 3-4)

Manchester City rediscovered that winning mentality but it was Hamburg who secured a place in the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup.

After being 3-1 down from the first leg the last thing manager Mark Hughes wanted was for his side to concede an early goal.

But that’s exactly what happened and Hamburg extended their lead after only 11 minutes.

City failed to deal with a routine cross from Jonathan Pitroipa and Paolo Guerrero took full advantage to score from close range.

However they battled back and goals from Elano – with a penalty – and Felipe Caicedo gave them hope.

But City were left cursing their luck as Elano twice had superb free-kicks come back off the woodwork.

To compound City’s misery skipper Richard Dunne was sent off in the second half.

Elano put them level on the night after 16 minutes when Piotr Trochowski was adjudged to have handled his shot.

The Brazilian stepped up and converted the spot-kick past goalkeeper Frank Rost to hand City a lifeline.

It was game on and the bumper home crowd were giving their side tremendous backing.

Elano then picked out Stephen Ireland at the back post but the Irishman knocked his effort into the side netting.

City found themselves on the back foot in the 26th minute and Given did well to parry a blistering effort from Trochowski.

Hamburg were not content to sit on their overall lead and Guerrero picked out Trochowski six minutes later but he sent a header into the arms of the goalkeeper.

Caicedo made space for himself in the 33rd minute, only to send a soft shot wide of a post.

Robinho then skipped into the area and found Caicedo but Rost took the ball off his toes.

It was a good spell for City and Bridge raced forward and fired in a shot which was taken by the goalkeeper.

City almost took the lead on the night when Elano’s thumping free-kick from 25 yards in the 43rd minute beat Rost but came back off the bar.

City, however, went ahead 2-1 on the night in the 50th minute when Caicedo used his strength to carve out an opening after a clever through ball from Ireland.

Caicedo showed good composure to rifle a shot beyond Rost and narrow the margin overall to one goal.

City nearly drew level on aggregate in the 53rd minute only for Elano’s free-kick to rattle the post before Caicedo hoisted a shot over the bar from six yards.

Rost then reacted superbly to boot clear a shot from Robinho after 59 minutes.

City kept up the pressure and Caicedo found the net a minute later but was ruled to have been offside.

Then Bridge found Robinho in the 66th minute but his header was safely gathered by Rost.

The pair again linked up five minutes later only for the goalkeeper to stand tall and block Robinho’s path.

City suffered a blow in the 75th minute when they were reduced to 10 men, Dunne sent off after collecting two yellow cards.

Hamburg suddenly stepped up the pace and Given reacted superbly to parry Olic’s effort in the 84th minute.

Elano had put in a hard shift and was replaced by Daniel Sturridge a minute later.

Micah Richards and Sturridge both came close but the tie ended in frustration for City.

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