By Rhonda Richards | In Match Reports - Away Games
Manchester City’s season came to an end with an uninspiring encounter with West Ham at Upton Park, with the sides sharing the spoils after a 1-1 draw.
The home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last Wednesday had put pay to City’s chances of Champions League qualification, but Roberto Mancini was still keen for his men to finish what has been an otherwise successful campaign on a high.
Micah was named among the substitutes as the Italian tactician made a number of changes, and perhaps as a result the opening exchanges were muted for both sides with both struggling to attain any level of rhythm, despite Shaun Wright-Phillips’ surging runs down the right.
For the hosts, Luis Boa Morte was reveling in the role he had been given by Gianfranco Zola, and with 17 minutes on the clock, and following some exquisite skill by Alessandro Diamante, the Hammers took the lead.
The Italian released his team-mate who in turn dinked over Martin Fulop to open the scoring – somewhat against the initial run of play – and in the aftermath Boa Morte received a booking for removing his shirt.
However, the teams had barely resumed play before City had restored parity. Adam Johnson, one of City’s most impressive performers this term since joining up from Middleborough, beat his man before playing in a pinpoint cross, and Wright-Phillips defied his stature to power home and make it 1-1.
Emmanuel Adebayor then had the ball in the back of the net only for his effort to be ruled offside, whilst at the other end Diamanti struck the post following a curling effort from the edge of the box.
Tit-for-tat exchanges ensued, with Adebayor played through by Johnson only for Robert Green to race from his line and make the block, and Roque Santa Cruz spurned a free header from six-yards as the first-half closed with both sides level.
With the game delicately poised, it appeared that both side’s lengthy seasons was taking its toll, and the first 20 minutes of the second half failed to offer up any real moments of excitement.
The introduction of former West Ham man and current City favourite Carlos Tevez had both sets of fans in full voice, though, whilst Micah was brought on to quell the threat of the hosts down the right.
Guillermo Franco went close to grabbing the three points for Zola’s men, outmuscling Kolo Toure before sending his shot goal-wards, but Fulop was equal to it, and another effort by the forward was well-blocked by Micah.
The final minutes petered to a close with neither side able to seize the initiative, and while the City quad will still be deflated having missed out on Europe’s elite competition, a fine season was drawn to a close with definite progress made.
West Ham: Boa Morte (17’)
Man City: Wright-Phillips (21’)
West Ham: Green, Faubert, da Costa, Upson, Daprela, Ilan, Parker, Kovac, Boa Morte, Diamanti, Cole. Subs: Kurucz, Gabbidon, Franco, McCarthy, Spector, Spence, Stanislas.
Man City: Fulop, Zabaleta, Toure, Kompany, Sylvinho, Wright-Phillips, Vieira, De Jong, Adam Johnson, Santa Cruz, Adebayor. Subs: Nielsen, Richards, Garrido, Tevez, Boyata, Cunningham, Ibrahim.