Bellamy brace sees City through

Manchester City 2 FC Copenhagen 1 (City win 4-3 on aggregate)

Manchester City 2 FC Copenhagen 1 (City win 4-3 on aggregate)

Wales striker Craig Bellamy is fast developing cult status at Manchester City.

Bellamy broke FC Copenhagen’s resistance to secure a place in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup and a meeting with another Danish side in Aalborg.

He scored twice in the space of seven second-half minutes to put this tie firmly to bed and leave City dreaming of further glory on the European stage.

It took his tally to five goals in seven games since his move from West Ham last month for a reported £14m. Given the shift he put in, it was no more than he deserved.

Copenhagen were always vulnerable to pace and were stretched in the seventh minute when Stephen Ireland threaded the ball through to Bellamy.

But he was adjudged to have strayed offside – a decision he furiously disagreed with.

Robinho then sent Wayne Bridge racing clear down the left but his cross went behind Ireland and the move broke down.

Copenhagen responded in the 17th minute with Dame N’Doye heading wide following a corner from Oscar Wendt.

City almost took the lead two minutes later when Robinho’s effort was parried by Jesper Christiansen following a cross from Bellamy.

Robinho was again denied by the goalkeeper at the near post a minute later after the Brazilian showed some superb footwork in a confined space.

Pablo Zabaleta then managed to breach the Copenhagen defence in the 33rd minute but Christiansen was equal to his effort.

Robinho made space for himself a minute later, only to scuff a shot into the arms of the goalkeeper.

Copenhagen pushed forward in the 37th minute but Atiba Hutchinson’s effort was deflected to safety.

Bellamy was a willing worker and got clear down the right six minutes later only to deliver a cross into Christiansen’s arms.

The Wales striker came within inches of putting City ahead in stoppage-time, his effort coming back off the post after he had been released by the influential Robinho.

City, however, had a scare in the 47th minute when Ailton Almeida’s shot from an acute angle drifted narrowly over the bar.

However they hit back and Bellamy’s well-flighted free-kick from 25 yards was tipped over the bar by Christiansen.

Wright-Phillips should have put City ahead in the 53rd minute following a superb through-ball from Robinho.

However the England winger sent his effort across the face of goal from an excellent position and Ireland was unable to get on the end of it.

Bellamy then scampered away and his cross was only half-cleared to Robinho. There was an air of anticipation around the ground when the ball broke to the record signing but his effort was blocked.

Bellamy got his reward in the 73rd minute by making the breakthrough and putting City 3-2 ahead on aggregate.

Zabaleta played the ball through and Bellamy took advantage as Jorgensen lost ground to slot his effort beyond Christiansen.

Robinho was then guilty of a glaring miss in front of the posts before Bellamy added a second in the 80th minute after being set up by the Brazilian.

Substitute Martin Vingaard scored a consolation goal in stoppage-time but it was too little too late for the visitors, who ran out of steam.

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