Man City 2 Aalborg 0: Shaun's stunner puts City in the driving seat

13 March 2009 12:27
Manchester City

warned Europe that they mean business, following upa bold statement in the transfer market with a clear signal of theirambitions on the pitch.

No sooner had Valencia confirmed that talks took place in Decemberover a deal for £40million-rated Spain striker David Villa, than MarkHughes' side stepped up their UEFA Cup challenge with a convincingfirstleg win at Eastlands last night.

First-half goals from Felipe Caicedo and Shaun Wright-Phillipsearned victory over an Aalborg side good enough to hold ManchesterUnited

to a Champions League draw at Old Trafford earlier this seasonand leave City in sight of a quarter-final place ahead of next week'ssecond leg in Denmark.

Three Amigos: Wright-Phillips (right), Caicedo and Elano (left) celebrate

 Man City in talks to sign David Villa as Valencia are forced to cash in

HATCHET MAN: Big spenders City finally reveal their ultimate ambition: To win Europe's most pointless trophy


There is still work to do, however. Hughes said: 'Ideally we wouldhave liked to put the game to bed and be able to rest players for thesecond leg but we don't have that option.

'The order of the day was to get a positive result and clean sheet and from that point of view it was a good performance.

'Aalborg are a good side but we had a bit too much for them. We hadchances to score more goals but if we score in Denmark it will be verydifficult for them to overcome us.'

Hughes gave a lukewarm response to comments from Valenciavice-president Fernando Gomez that the two clubs had discussed a dealfor Villa, but the fact City were in for a player of such calibre is aclear sign they have not been put off by failing to sign Ronaldinho andKaka.

'I just think it's a little bit of old news,' said Hughes. 'Theinterest was shown before Christmas. We were told the prices of certainplayers but we walked away and haven't been back since.'

City were up and running as early as the eighth minute last night.

Robinho fit again after a 10,000-mile round trip to Brazil fortreatment on his ankle injury at the weekend played the ball intoCaicedo and the powerful Ecuador striker turned Michael Jakobsen beforeslipping the ball under the body of Karim Zaza.

'Michael shouldn't be turned that way,' said Aalborg's Swedish coach Magnus Pehrsson. 'He knows he should have done better.'

1-0: Caicedo gives City the advantage

Hughes had warned that Aalborg would be the toughest of City's threeDanish opponents and so it began to prove as they fought their way backinto the game.

Caca was denied by the legs of Shay Given after he had slipped theball past Nedum Onuoha to go free on goal and the unmarked ThomasAugustinussen side-footed hopelessly wide when the ball was deflectedto his feet 10 yards out.

City desperately needed a second goal and Wright-Phillips delivered it in emphatic style on the half-hour mark.

Ireland won the ball in midfield and played it wide to the Englandwinger, who cut inside Patrick Kristensen and dispatched a magnificentright-foot shot inside Zaza's near post.

Emphatic: Wright-Phillips notches City's second

Had they been awarded the most blatant of penalties beforehalf-time, the tie could have been over already. Robinho teased MichaelBeauchamp with a flurry of stepovers inside the box and the defenderclearly tripped the Brazilian right in front of refereeAlain Hamer.

However, for reasons known only to himself, the Luxembourg official decided it was not a penalty.

'It should have been,' said Hughes. 'I think the referee was mesmerised by Robbie's feet and forgot to look for the tackle.'

Blatant: Robinho is staggered not to be awarded a penalty after Beauchamp's tackle

Onuoha could have increased City's lead within five minutes of therestart, heading wide from a corner when he should have scored, whileRobinho and Wright-Phillips also went close in the second half.

Caca again wasted Aalborg's best chance of an away goal, miscuingalmost comically at the far post. But Enevoldsen's angry reaction tobeing replaced by Kasper Risgard 13 minutes from time, tussling with amember of the coaching staff on the touchline as he headed for thetunnel, suggests there is still fight in Aalborg yet.

Pehrsson said: ' City are the favourites now. But we have a week and we're still alive.'

Earlier in the day, Valencia confirmed talks had taken place with City over a possible deal for Villa in January an admission that raises the possibility of the Spain striker moving to Eastlands this summer. Valencia are in financial trouble and might have to cash in on prize assets like Villa and David Silva.

They want £40m, limiting the rival bidders to Chelsea and perhaps Real Madrid if Villa, 27, is lined up for a vote-winning deal in this summer's presidential elections.

However City refused to meet Valencia's asking price, and the Spanish club confirmed they had not tabled an official bid.

For sale: Valencia may be forced to sell prize asset Villa

MATCH FACTS MANCHESTER CITY (4-5-1): Given 6; Richards 6, Onuoha 5, Dunne 6, Bridge 6; Zabaleta 6, Ireland 8, Elano 6, Wright-Phillips 7 (Etuhu 87min); Caicedo 7 (Evans 63, 6), Robinho 7. Booked: Elano.

AALBORG (4-5-1): Zaza 7; Bogelund 5, Beauchamp 6, Jakobsen 6 (Nielsen 86), Kristensen 5; Caca 6, Johansson 5, Augustinussen 5, Enevoldsen 6 (Risgard 76), Due 6 (Curth 66, 6); Shelton 6.

Booked: Enevoldsen. Man of the match: Stephen Ireland.

Referee: Alain Hamer (Luxembourg).

 Robinho and Elano are in the Brazil squad for World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Peru at the end of the month, along with Anderson of neighbouring Manchester United.  Man City in talks to sign David Villa as Valencia are forced to cash in

HATCHET MAN: Big spenders City finally reveal their ultimate ambition: To win Europe's most pointless trophy



Source: Daily_Mail

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