By William Wood | In Match Reports - Home Games
Manchester City cruised to a 3-0 win over Red Bull Salzburg at the City of Manchester stadium to book their place in the last 32 of the Europa League.
Mario Balotelli was on fine form as he grabbed a brace, whilst Adam Johnson added a sensational third as an impressive City display saw them through.
Micah was on the bench for the clash with Jerome Boateng coming in at the right side of City’s defence, whilst other changes included Jo joining Balotelli in attack.
A lively start from Shaun Wright-Phillips was causing problems for the visitors and from one of his crosses, Johnson almost turned in at the back post.
The lightning quick winger then went close with an effort of his own that drifted just wide, whilst Gerhard Tremmel did well to deny a Balotelli effort with his legs.
However, the Italian wasn’t to be denied minutes later as Pablo Zabaleta swung the ball in from the left and the striker connected well with the ball to guide it home.
Balotelli was causing all sorts of problems and felt he should have had a penalty with 33 minutes on the clock but the referee waved away his protests, and James Milner missed the target after being set clean through on goal.
With a 1-0 lead in the bag and little threat from their opponents, Robert Mancini’s men could afford to sit pretty for the opening exchanges in the second half.
It was Balotelli, as to be expected, who went closest again for City as some nice interchange between Wright-Phillips and Boateng allowed the striker to work an opening, only for him to find the side-netting.
Adam Johnson introduced some flair to the game as he coasted passed two defenders only to see his shot fly just over, but City were 2-0 up within moments.
Patrick Vieira’s scuffed shot found its way to Balotelli who duly tapped into to put daylight between the two sides, and he almost completed his hat-trick a minute later but saw the ball connect with the side of the goal instead.
One of Shay Given’s only acts of the game saw him push Stefan Hierlander’s fierce effort round the post, but the action was sure enough taking place at the other end.
Johnson collected a pass on the wing before jinking his way passed three Salzburg players and curling the ball in at the far post to make it 3-0 to the hosts.
Micah was introduced for a ten minute run out just as the City fans made a cult of a Salzburg player called Alan, and Mancini’s men held out for the win to see the club through to the next stage of the competition.
Man City: Given, Boateng, Toure, Lescott, Zabaleta, Wright-Phillips, Vieira, Milner, Adam Johnson, Balotelli, Jo. Subs: Hart, Richards, Adebayor, Kolarov, Barry, Silva, De Jong
SV Red Bull Salzburg: Tremmel, Schiemer, Sekagya, Afolabi, Hinteregger, Mendes Da Silva, Hierlander, Leitgeb, Cziommer, Jantscher, Boghossian. Subs: Walke, Augustinussen, Zarate, Svento, Alan, Ngwat-Mahop, Offenbacher