Belfast Telegraph

Manchester City too slick for Sven’s Leicester

Manchester City 4 Leicester City 2: Sven-Goran Eriksson failed to inflict an FA Cup sucker punch on Manchester City as his former club booked a fourth-round trip to Notts County.

Eriksson's Leicester outfit battled gamely, levelling an early opener from Carlos Tevez through Paul Gallagher's penalty and then halving the deficit after the hosts had scored twice in 77 seconds through Patrick Vieira and Adam Johnson.

However, four days after offering Wolves a similar lifeline on the same ground, City quickly snatched it away, Aleksandar Kolarov lashing home a fourth in the final minute.

It was a fitting tribute to Neil Young — the terminally ill member of the side that triumphed at Wembley in 1969, for whom the City players posed for the pre-match photograph wearing distinctive red and black striped kits.

City's latest attempt to emulate that team got off to a stuttering start 10 days ago and for half an hour they were no more convincing at the second attempt, despite boasting the most expensive starting line-up in FA Cup history.

It was hardly a surprise that Tevez put City ahead. Turning past Yuki Abe as he collected a throw from fellow Argentinian Pablo Zabaleta, Tevez then ran straight at Jack Hobbs. A fortunate bounce allowed Tevez to continue his charge towards the box and with one swipe of the right boot he lashed a shot into the corner.

City were not in front for long though as Lloyd Dyer burst between Joleon Lescott and Vieira, falling over the latter man's leg, which had been conveniently dangled out.

Gallagher's finish was effective as Joe Hart went the wrong way.

In the space of 77 seconds towards the end of the opening period, the Premier League title chasers took control.

This time, Tevez was the creator, lifting a superb pass beyond the Leicester defence to Zabaleta.

Silva met the South American's cut-back and, though Souleymane Bamba blocked on the line, the ball screwed across the six-yard box to Vieira, who tapped into an empty net.

Then Silva spotted Johnson's defence-splitting run and slipped a precise pass to the winger that left him with only Chris Weale to beat.

Having blown one such opportunity when the tie was still goalless, Johnson was in no mood to let Leicester escape a second time and finished clinically.

Any lingering hopes for the visitors should have been snuffed out when Tevez went down as he cut inside Hobbs.

As the defender was the last man, it warranted a red card. City boss Roberto Mancini certainly thought so, waving his arm to that effect, but referee Mark Halsey decided otherwise — a decision that became more significant when Tevez blasted the spot-kick straight at Weale's legs.

Mancini was presumably thinking about it even more when an accidental intervention from the referee offered Abi a second opportunity to play a pass beyond the City defence, which Dyer profited from after shrugging off Vincent Kompany.

The City boss must be sick of such endings, having endured a similar situation against Wolves on Saturday, but Kolarov strode forward to end any doubt and set up a visit to Paul Ince's League One outfit, who dumped Sunderland out 10 days ago.

Belfast Telegraph


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