Manchester City 0 Middlesbrough 2
GOALS from Patrick Bamford and Kike swept Boro in to the fifth round of the FA Cup on a proud afternoon for the club. Writes GORDON COX from the Etihad Stadium.
Both sides named strong line ups.
Tomas Kalas missed the game after taking a kick against Cardiff on Tuesday so Dean Whitehead dropped to the right side of defence. Tomas Mejias, as he was for the third round tie at Barnsley, was in goal with Connor Ripley on the bench. That meant a place in the starting line-up for former City ballboy Adam Clayton.
City arrived back last night from a five day break in Abu Dhabi. Included in today’s line-up was Dedryck Boyata who made his City debut in a third round tie at the Riverside in 2010.
Willy Caballero was named in goal with Joe Hart on the bench.
After an opening few minutes where there the was a respectful approach from both sides on the pitch and plenty verbal jousting between the fans off it, City moved down the left, Aleksander Kolarov swept over a low cross only just out of the reach of Stevan Jovetic.
Sergio Aguero was next to try and take the lid off the can as he slid in Jesus Navas. The legs of Mejias came to Boro’s rescue.
The precision of City’s passing was a notable feature as they dominated possession, though Boro did have the ball in the net when Patrick Bamford flicked on to Lee Tomlin who headed in. The problem was a linesman’s flag had been raised earlier in the move.
City continued to search left and right for a way through and a low shot from Aguero flew in to the side netting.
Moving forward Boro looked efficient, they just couldn’t do it often enough against a side whose class was evident.
On a rare raid a Bamford cross picked out Vossen whose overhead kick was deflected for a corner.
Back came City, at one stage lining up to take shots from the edge of the box. Jovetic going close, Boyata shooting well over and James Milner bringing an excellent save from Mejias with a low drive from 20 yards.
Boro stuck in, Ben Gibson defended well, so too Daniel Ayala as City probed through the middle and Grant Leadbitter put in a thundering challenge to clear danger and start a moved in one go.
Two more smart saves from Mejias kept Boro in the game. The first denied David Silva who struck powerfully from 24 yards, then Jovetic was denied from 10 yards closer to goal.
Bamford headed just over from a Dean Whitehead cross in the closing minutes of the half, closing a period where Boro had seen more of the ball.
The final attack of the half saw Albert Adomah set up Lee Tomlin whose low shot from the edge of the box was deflected for a corner. City dealt with and were on what could have been a telling break when referee Phil Dowd blew for half-time.
Half-time: Manchester City 0 Middlesbrough 0
Two yellow cards, one per side, interrupted the flow at the start of the second half. The one shown to Ayala was his tenth of the season and he will miss the next two games.
With 52 minutes played Boro swept forward through the middle, Jelle Vossen threaded to Adomah who looked to have lost his chance to shoot. He carried on, forcing a save from Caballero. But the ball ran to Patrick Bamford who tucked home from close range.
City’s fans were stunned and Boro almost made it two a few minutes later when Leadbitter struck fiercely low and Boyata produced an excellent block.
City flew forward and for a short while peppered Boro’s penalty area, but the best two chances in the ensuing minutes fell to the visitors as first Adomah, set up by Tomlin, strode through the middle but his lob was grabbed by Caballero before Tomlin, through the middle, beat the goalkeeper with a low shot which thudded back off the left-hand post after a brilliant turn which left Vincent Kompany wondering which way he’d gone
Approaching the midway point of the half Manuel Pellegrini made two changes, but apart from when George Friend produced an excellent block to deny Aguero City didn’t threaten as much as they would like.
Boro did and from an Adomah cross Vossen made great contact on a volley which needed a smart save to prevent Boro from going two up.
It took the post to prevent City from drawing level in the 89th minute when Frank Lampard shot from the D, Clayton did all he could to block and ball looped up and thudded back of Mejias’ left-hand post.
In the third minute of injury-time Boro sealed the win. Bamford was fouled on the edge of the penalty area but referee Dowd played an excellent advantage as the ball rolled to Kike who stroked a low shot beyond Caballero.
On the whistle Boro’s coaching staff joined the players on the pitch in applauding the Boro fans. It was reciprocated long and loud.
Scorers Bamford 52, Kike 90+3.
*Earlier today Boro’s U18s consolidated their position at the top of the table when winning 5-1 away to Sunderland. Jordan Jowers (2), Harry Chapman, Alex Pattison and Joe Wheatley the goalscorers.
Manchester City: Caballero; Kompany (Capt.), Zabaleta, Kolarov, Boyata, Fernando (Dzeko 78), Milner, Navas (Lampard 66), Silva, Jovetic (Fernandinho 66), Aguero. Subs: Hart (gk); Sagna, Clichy, Demichelis. Order of subs on 66: 1) Lampard 2) Fernandinho.
Middlesbrough: Mejias; Whitehead, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Tomlin (Reach 80), Leadbitter (Capt.), Clayton, Adomah, Bamford Wildschut (90+4), Vossen (Kike 86). Subs: Ripley (gk); Husband, Woodgate, Omeruo.
Referee Phil Dowd
Manchester City Kompany 51, foul; Fernandinho 70, foul.
Middlesbrough Ayala 49, foul; Whitehead 71, time-wasting at free-kick.
Conditions Bright, cool and still.
Possession: Manchester City 64% Middlesbrough 36%
Boro Website 3-2-1: 3 Mejias 2 Tomlin 1 Gibson