By Rhonda Richards | In Match Reports - Away Games
Manchester City fought back from a goal down to seal a 2-1 away win against FC Porto in their Europa League last-32 clash.
The hosts grabbed the lead as Hulk crossed in for Silvestre Valera to get across his man to flick home to make it 1-0, but an own goal by Alvaro Pereira and a second from substitute Sergi Aguero handed Roberto Mancini’s men the win.
Much of the early possession was had by FC Porto as they looked to assert their dominance, though Yaya Toure and David Silva were looking lively in the middle for City. It was the home side that went closest early on as Rolando’s header was deflected over by Gael Clichy, underpinning a five-minute spell of total dominance by the Portuguese side.
Mario Balotelli threatened at the other end as he got on the end of a hopeful ball into the box and saw his shot saved, with Micah chesting and volleying in at the near post and forcing Helton Arruda into a follow up stop, a feat he had to repeat minutes later from Samir Nasri’s attempt.
City were beginning to find their feet but they were duly knocked off their stride as Porto grabbed the lead. Hulk broke down the left and picked out Varela’s run perfectly, with the latter beating Clichy to the ball to guide it home and hand his side the advantage.
The visitors did, though, go close to hitting back immediately, Balotelli being sent clean through and hitting his shot early, forcing Helton into a reflex save to maintain his side’s margin, whilst captain Vincent Kompany had to react quickly to dive in and block Lucho Gonzalez’s shot on goal in the dying moments of the first-half.
Despite being a goal down, City re-started after the interval looking like the dominant force. Micah was released down the right twice in the opening five minutes, the first time running out of pitch and the second striking the post as he attempted to cut the ball back in having gone beyond his man.
The early endeavour paid off as the away side hauled themselves level, Yaya Toure’s deep cross being deflected over Helton’s head by Pereira’s left shoulder to make it 1-1 with just under 40 minutes remaining.
City were collecting yellow cards as they took a physical approach, and Hulk and co. appeared increasingly fazed by their opponent’s tactics, with Micah flying in on Pereira with a superb and perfectly timed tackle as further illustration of their efforts.
With Porto increasingly marginalised, City grabbed a second. Yaya Toure did well after a fine spell for Mancini’s side, eventually breaking through on goal and unselfishly laying off to Aguero to tap home and make it 2-1.
The side closed out the game to seal an impressive win at a destination that is renowned for being one of the sternest in Europe, and they now have a week to prepare for the return fixture as they seek a place in the last-16.
FC Porto: Helton, Danilo, Rolando, Maicon, Pereira, Gonzalez, Fernando, Joao Moutinho, Varela, Hulk, James Rodriguez. Subs: Bracali, Cristian Rodriguez, Kleber, Djalma, Mangala, Alex Sandro, Defour
Man City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Barry, De Jong, Nasri, Toure Yaya, Silva, Balotelli. Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Pizarro, Dzeko, Kolarov, Savic, Aguero