Elano too good for Boro
The brilliant Brazilian Elano was the architect of Middlesbrough's downfall in City's 3-1 win over Middlesbrough.
Last Updated: 07/10/07 6:56pm
The brilliant Brazilian Elano was the architect of Middlesbrough's downfall as his two fine strikes helped Manchester City to a 3-1 success at Eastlands, their fifth successive win on home soil.
Sven Goran Eriksson's side were in cruise control for most of an afternoon that will delight their Swedish tactician and worry Boro boss Gareth Southgate in equal measures.
Boro got off to the most inauspicious of starts when Chris Riggott put Martin Petrov's corner through his own goal and it only got worse there after, as Elano took centre stage.
At the hub of City's best work, the schemer put the home side in complete control just after the half-hour mark, with a fine rasping drive from Michael Johnson's sublime back heel on the edge of the box.
In the second half, as a lethargic Boro faltered, Elano topped his own effort with a stunning curling free-kick that gave a crestfallen Mark Schwarzer not a prayer.
Perhaps the only bright spot for Southgate to muse over was a debut goal for Ben Hutchinson, after Joe Hart had fumbled Tuncay Sanli's effort in the dying stages.
City went in front after Riggott got distracted in the tenth minute by Richard Dunne's near-post leap for Petrov's corner and succeeded only in turning it into his own net.
Thereafter and Elano took over and in the 33rd minute his promptings were rewarded with a goal, thanks to a finish as precise as last weekend's against Newcastle.
Elano might have had another before half-time but Schwarzer made the save.
At the other end, Hart was a virtual spectator, although his one eye-catching stop, a full length dive to palm away Lee Cattermole's glancing header, was important as it preserved City's lead a minute before Elano brought the crowd to its feet for the first time.
Southgate did try to inject some forward momentum into his team with the half-time introduction of Tuncay but after a brief flurry, during which Luke Young should have scored, they were quickly suffering at Elano's magical feet once more.
When Jonathan Woodgate misread the flight of Stephen Ireland's cross and saw the ball land at Mpenza's feet, his instinctive reaction was to pull the City man back. In truth, he would have been better letting the Belgian run on as Elano simply strode up and curled another brilliant effort beyond Schwarzer, giving the Australian no chance whatsoever of keeping it out.
The hunt was on for an Elano hat-trick but the nearest he came was a 35-yard strike Schwarzer needed two attempts to smother.
Schwarzer had already brilliantly turned away Stephen Ireland's far-post volley and he was thankful Lee Cattermole was on hand to clear when Geovanni closed in on the rebound after he had parried Petrov's shot back into the danger zone.
A fourth for City would not have been unjust. Instead, Boro grabbed a crumb of comfort from an otherwise miserable day when debutant Hutchinson turned home a late consolation.
|Manchester City||Team Statistics||Middlesbrough|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|8||Shots on Target||8|
|7||Shots off Target||8|