Man City 2 FC Copenhagen 1: Two-goal Bellamy boosts Manchester City

27 February 2009 01:43
It says much for Craig Bellamy's attitude to his football that he was able to put aside the death of a much-loved cousin to help Manchester City

into the last 16 of the UEFA Cup at Eastlands last night.

Bellamy divides opinion in football and always will. But nobody can ever doubt his commitment to what he does.

City's striker signed from West Ham in the transfer window lost his cousin James to a long illness the day before this important game and felt that he was not in the right frame of mind to play until assistant manager Mark Bowen persuaded him otherwise.

Two goals, and a man of the match performance later, Bowen was proved right.

It's for you: Bellamy looks to the heavens after scoring his first goal

Bellamy has now scored four goals for his new club and is already proving himself a typically astute Mark Hughes signing.

City were the better side against limited opposition last night. Indeed, they proved themselves superior to FC Copenhagen over the two legs of this tie.

But it was still in the balance with 20 minutes left and it was left to Bellamy to provide the difference with two well-taken goals.

'It has been a hard day for me and a hard time for James' family,' said Bellamy afterwards. 'I will miss him dearly and would like to dedicate these two goals to him.'

Doubling up: Bellamy notches City's second

Bellamy has always been a heart-on-the-sleeve type of footballer.

Those who have dealt with him and watched him over the last decade can not help but like him. Whether he manages to win over the young Brazilian Robinho remains to be seen.

By all accounts, the Premier League's highest-paid player has not taken kindly to Bellamy's opinionated style.

Perhaps Robinho expected his new clubmate to offer to polish his football boots for him.

Yesterday the Brazil star actually played very well but his attitude towards Bellamy would still appear to need some work.

While his team-mates celebrated Bellamy's opening goal in the 73rd minute, Robinho chose to turn his back and meander back towards the halfway line on his own.

Then when Robinho did brilliantly to beat his man by the byline and set up Bellamy for the second goal he reacted to his team-mate's congratulatory hug with all the enthusiasm of someone who had just detected a nasty smell in the room.

Half-hearted: Robinho and Bellamy embrace after the Welshman's second

Perhaps the relationship will get better. Perhaps it will not. But at least it did not seemto affect their play on the field.

At times they were superb together as the Wales striker used his pace and cunning and Robinho used his technical genius to cut Copenhagen open during City's better moments.

'Craig showed great character,' said manager Hughes. 'He showed a lot of mental strength just to play and what he does for this team is clear. I thought Craig and Robinho were excellent at times tonight and showed what they can do to teams.

'You also saw from the way that they celebrated together that there is no problem between them.'

The last point is debatable but Hughes was right about the football the two produced.

Robinho almost scored with a header from a Bellamy cross in the first half, only for Danish goalkeeper Jesper Christiansen to push the ball on to the crossbar.

Then a smart interchange between the pair set Bellamy away in first-half injury time, only for his shot to bobble across goal and strike the post.


Airforce: Manchester City's Vincent Kompany launches himself at FC Copenhagen defenders Thomas Kristensen and Matthias Jorgensen

For a while in the second half it looked as though City's possession would lead nowhere, a feeling that only increased when the home team spurned a clear chance to score.

Robinho released Shaun Wright-Phillips down the right and when the England winger crossed towards the far post Stephen Ireland quiet on the night could not quite reach the ball to turn it in on the slide.

City eventually scored thanks to Bellamy's persistence, as he chased a long pass from Pablo Zabaleta, and a mistake from Copenhagen's Matthias Jorgensen. When the defender slipped Bellamy buried the shot comprehensively.

Robinho's skill at the dead-ball line set up Bellamy for the second goal with 10 minutes left and perhaps as well given that the Brazilian had missed a sitter from sixyards a couple of minutes earlier.

Pain: Robinho agonises over his miss

Copenhagen grabbed a consolation a long shot from Martin Vingaard right at the end but City fans went home pondering the way that Robinho and Bellamy had combined to give their team a much-needed cutting edge.

Bellamy, of course, had much more more important things to think about.

  Match factsMANCHESTER CITY (4-2-3-1): Given 7; Richards 7, Onuoha 7, Dunne 7, Bridge 7; Zabaleta 7 (Elano 82min), Kompany 7; Wright-Phillips 7, Ireland 7, Robinho 8; Bellamy 9.

FC COPENHAGEN (4-4-2): Christiansen 8; Pospech 7, Jorgensen 6, Antonsson 6, Wendt 6; Kvist 7, Norregaard 6 (Vingaard 76), Kristensen 7 (Sionko 46, 6), Hutchinson 7; Almeida 7, Ndoye 7 (Gronkjaer 59, 6).

Booked: Kristensen, Wendt.

Man of the match: Craig Bellamy.

Referee: Selcuk Dereli (Turkey).

 Carry on feuding: Hughes happy for Bellamy to fire up team-mate Robinho



Source: Daily_Mail