By Rhonda Richards | In Match Reports - Away Games
Manchester City’s Uefa Cup quarter-final clash with Hamburg ended in disappointment as the hosts fought back from a goal down to secure a comprehensive 3-1 first-leg win.
In an attacking line-up, Daniel Sturridge was drafted into the side as Mark Hughes sought to grab an away goal, and that they did within the first minute.
Stephen Ireland instigated the move, picking out Robinho from midfield before bursting forward to join the attack, collecting the Brazilian’s return pass and slotting home to hand the Premier League side the lead.
In what was a bright start, Mladen Petric forced Shay Given into a fine save after he connected with a cross, and the Republic of Ireland international was on guard to stop a point-blank effort from Michael Gravgaard.
However, he was eventually beaten when Joris Mathijsen glanced a header into the back of the net, and they nearly went ahead 20 minutes in when Jonathan Pitroipa’s effort rebounded off the bar.
City switched things around tactically, reverting to 4-4-2, and Bellamy went close with an effort midway through the half, calling Frank Rost into action.
Ivica and Olic continued to probe the City defence as the German outfit pressed for another, while at the other end Shaun Wright-Phillips and Stephen Ireland in particular kept the Hamburg defence on their toes, though neither side was able to carve an opening before the break.
It was a case of as it were when play resumed, Hamburg enjoying more of the possession and posing a potent danger from all set-pieces.
It took City 15 minutes before they registered a shot on target, Wright-Phillips firing in only for Rost to collect the ball safely, but events took a turn for the worse for Hughes’ men as Hamburg were awarded a penalty.
Jarolim aimed a ball back across the penalty area which struck Micah on his arm, and Piotr Trochowski converted the subsequent spot-kick to hand the home side the impetus.
Martin Jol’s men were on a roll and Marcell Jansen went close with a long-range drive, while Micah almost won a penalty of his own when he was brought down, but the referee waved away City’s protests.
However, just as the Eastlanders looked to be getting back into the game, Hamburg struck again. Trochowski coaxed a cross into the box and Paolo Guerrero converted the opportunity as the City defence hesitated, much to Hughes’ dismay.
As the clock wound down, Dennis Aogo forced Given into another fingertip save in the last meanningful act of the game, and while an heir of disappointment will ring around the City squad, the away goal offers them hope for the return leg