Adebayor sets City on course
Emmanuel Adebayor grabbed a debut goal as Manchester City kicked off a season of huge expectations with a 2-0 win at Blackburn. Adebayor was one of five high-profile summer signings by the big-spending Blues and took just three minutes to get off the mark with a clinical finish. Blackburn posed plenty of problems but Shay Given made two fine saves as City stood firm before Stephen Ireland sealed the three points with a stoppage-time strike. Adebayor was one of four debutants for City, with Gareth Barry and Kolo Toure both impressing from the start, while Carlos Tevez was a second-half substitute. Manager Mark Hughes had opted for an attacking line-up for the start of an eagerly-anticipated season, with Adebayor supported by Craig Bellamy and record signing Robinho. And the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes, two of the men irritated by City's rapid transformation, plus a 6,000-strong travelling Blues army did not have to wait long for the first glimpse of what their side are now capable of. City set off on a counter-attack, with Adebayor releasing Shaun Wright-Phillips down the right. The England winger then cut inside Stephen Warnock and squared for Adebayor, who fired past Paul Robinson from the edge of the box. It then became evident the home side were going to enjoy a long period of dominance and strike pair Jason Roberts and Benni McCarthy proved difficult to subdue, as did El Hadji Diouf and Morten Gamst Pedersen in wider positions. Blackburn's first chance saw McCarthy cushion a fine header into the path of Roberts, who sidefooted over from 12 yards. Chris Samba then met a Diouf corner and Given pulled off a superb one-handed save low to his left. Penalty appealRoberts was denied another sight of goal by Dunne's last-ditch tackle and when Keith Andrews had a penalty appeal turned down in stoppage time, Rovers boss Sam Allardyce must have wondered how he came to be giving an interval team-talk to a team staring defeat in the face. City were marginally the better side in the second half, with Adebayor looking far more lively than he had done in his last few performances with Arsenal. Not that Rovers were throwing in the towel as a Roberts header from Lars Jacobsen's cut-back forced another excellent save from Given. City replied with Robinho going agonisingly close as Robinson tipped wide his 20-yard strike. It was the Brazilian's only meaningful contribution and he was replaced by Tevez shortly after. Robinson denied Tevez a debut goal before Ireland, collecting Wright-Phillips' through-ball, calmly took his time before beating Robinson at his near post.
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