By William Wood | In Match Reports - Away Games
Manchester City secured their safe passage into the third round of the Carling Cup with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, with Mark Hughes opting for a strong line-up against the Championship side.
The competition has often been used by managers of Premier League teams as an opportunity to play around with their squad, but Hughes signalled his intentions in the competition by naming the likes of Micah, Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez and Robinho as well as most recent signing Joleon Lescott in his starting eleven.
However, it was Neil Warnock’s men who found their feet earliest, imposing their youthful selves on City from the off.
Shaun Wright-Phillips returned proceedings to script, though, as, with 11 minutes on the clock, he burst forward and looked to pick out Robinho at the far post, but just as the Brazilian poised to head the ball home the Palace defence cleared the danger.
The visitors rightfully felt that they should have been ahead a quarter-of-an-hour
in, with Stephen Ireland picking out Robinho over the top of Palace’s defence
perfectly but, as the forward exquisitely chipped the ball over Julian Speroni and
into the back of the net, the linesman incorrectly flagged for offside.
City were posing as much of a danger from set-pieces and Kolo Toure went close with one header, while at the other end former Newcastle United midfielder Darren Ambrose struck a powerful effort a yard over from 30-yards out.
Speroni was in spirited form for Palace and he was on hand to deny Adebayor after the Togo international turned his man before watching his deflected shot fly goalwards.
And the Argentinian stopper frustrated compatriot Tevez a minute later after a fine one-two between the diminutive striker and Ireland, with Speroni diving to his left to keep the game scoreless.
Equally, Shay Given put in a superb display, denying Palace at every opportunity when his services were called upon. When Freddie Sears chased a 50-50 ball which would surely have wound up in the net had Given not rushed out, the Republic of Ireland goalkeeper stood firm to remove the danger.
Having finished the first-half impressively against their top-flight opposition, the home side would have been devastated to concede with just four minutes of the second-half gone.
A fluid move saw Robinho side-foot the ball to Ireland who in turn laid it off to Wright-Phillips, and the England man lashed the ball past a helpless Speroni to edge Hughes’ team in front.
The lead should have been doubled three minutes later as Adebayor had a one-on-one after using his pace to beat the offside trap, but Speroni was once again equal to it, diving at Adebayor’s feet to block the shot before Ireland’s acrobatic follow-up flew well over.
Wright-Phillips was clearly on a high after his goal, and he struck the crossbar after another fine effort after 53 minutes, though Victor Moses went close at the other end.
However, the tide had certainly changed in the half as City displayed their superior quality, and Tevez was in the right place at the right time to head home his first goal for City from Wright-Phillips’ corner – cue deafening cheers from the visitor’s faithful.
Former Leeds United man Shaun Derry went close with a low drive which skipped five-yards wide of the goal, while Tevez went close to doubling his own tally as he cut past his marker only for Speroni to dive to his left to make the stop.
There was still time for Derry to miss another opportunity from six-yards, and Given was alert to the danger as he made another impressive point-blank stop at the death as City held out for a solid victory over determined opposition to maintain their 100% start to the season.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Hill, McCarthy, Jose Fonte, Clyne, Moses, Derry, Danns, Sears, Ambrose, N’Diaye. Subs: Flahavan, Butterfield, Moses, Lee, Scannell, Carle, Smith,
Manchester City: Given, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Bridge, Barry, Ireland, Robinho, Wright-Phillips, Tevez, Adebayor. Subs: Petrov, Bellamy, de Jong, Onuoha, Weiss, Taylor, Zabaleta.
Crystal Palace: None
Manchester City: Wright Phillips (49’), Tevez (70’)