By William Wood | In Match Reports - Away Games
Manchester City maintained their 100% start to the season with a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth at Fratton Park, keeping another clean-sheet, though Micah limped off after 58 minutes with a knock after having a goal disallowed.
Manager Mark Hughes handed a league debut to new-boy Joleon Lescott in the
heart of City’s defence, but it was another arrival – Emmanuel Adebayor – who grabbed the headlines with another goal to continue his run of scoring in every Premier League fixture thus far.
The Togo international was pivotal in the vast majority of the Eastlander’s attacks, probing early on as he repeatedly fed Shaun Wright-Phillips down the right.
The visitors were also looking dangerous from set-pieces, but it was Portsmouth who had the first half-chance of the match as Frederic Piquionne carved an opening on the edge of the box but only found the side-netting of Shay Given’s goal.
There was a scare at the other end as Asmir Begovic fumbled a Gareth Barry free-kick and Wright-Phillips moved to knock the ball goal-wards, but the Canadian stopper was rescued by his defence.
Carlos Tevez, who scored for City in the 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace midweek, was also lively, and he tested Begovic’s palms with 19 minutes gone without really threatening to find the back of the net.
As both sides struggled to find a way through, City seized the lead in the simplest way possible. Barry hooked in a corner and Adebayor was on hand to nod the ball home from 10-yards out and hand the away side the advantage.
And it should have been two as Micah slotted the ball home from two-yards
following Craig Bellamy’s driven ball across the box. As it was, the linesman incorrectly raised his flag, one can only assume because Barry was in an offside position, and the scoreline remained the same.
City retained a stronghold on their lead after the break, though Michael Brown believed he was legitimately through on goal two minutes after the restart only for the referee to pull him up for handball.
Adebayor could have had his – and City’s – second from the edge of the box had Begovic not been alert, while Kolo Toure – as is his trademark – dribbled forward and released a shot on goal, though it lacked the power to trouble Portsmouth’s goalkeeper.
With 58 minutes on the clock, Micah went down injured and was eventually brought off by Hughes so not to aggravate the knock, though England manager Fabio Capello – watching from the stands – may well have been suitably impressed with what he saw.
City continued to press for a second goal, Bellamy using his pace to work a yard of space on the left-side of Portsmouth’s box before curling in a shot which Begovic was equal to.
Portsmouth thought they had found an equaliser as debutant Tommy Smith picked out the advancing Hayden Mullins, but just as the ball flew goal-wards Pablo Zabaleta was there to clear the danger.
With City seemingly content with a one goal lead, Pompey were invited forward, John Utaka flashing an effort just wide of Given’s goal after being allowed to tee up his shot.
Similarly, David Nugent should have done better with a free shot and the goal at his mercy having been picked out by Brown, the one-time England man instead shooting straight at Given.
And that was to be the final, and best, chance Pompey had to get back into the game, City returning north with another three points in another efficient performance.
Manchester City: Given, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Bridge, Wright-Phillips,
Ireland, Barry, Bellamy, Adebayor, Tevez. Subs: Taylor, Onuoha, Zabaleta,
Robinho, Petrov, De Jong, Weiss.
Portsmouth: Begovic, Vanden Borre, Kaboul, Mokoena, Belhadj, Brown, Mullins,
Hughes, Smith, Piquionne, Kranjcar. Subs: Ashdown, Kanu, Basinas, Nugent,
Utaka, Ward, Hreidarsson.
Manchester City: Adebayor (30’)