Zarate double at St Andrews
Birmingham took all three points after a controversial penalty and a brace from Mauro Zarate gave them a 3-1 win over Man City.
By Hayley Paterson
Last Updated: 31/03/08 4:32pm
Ten-man Birmingham took all three points after a controversial penalty and a brace from Mauro Zarate gave them a 3-1 win over Manchester City.
The Blues dominated possession but Man City had the best chance early on when Elano's through-ball found Benjani who struck the post.
Zarate opened the scoring after he latched onto Franck Queudrue's testing pass and cutely lobbed the ball over the advancing Joe Hart.
The Argentinian made it two for him and two for the home side as he netted a clinical effort into the far corner across Hart's outstretched left arm.
Controversy struck when Benjani fell under the challenge of Queudrue in the box who was deemed the last man and saw red. Elano then tucked away the resulting penalty to give Man City hope.
But Gary McSheffrey quashed the away side's comeback when he went down rather easily from Sun Jihai's shoulder challenge and the midfielder stepped up to slot home the penalty himself making it 3-1.
Birmingham started brightly in the swirling wind and a fine pass from Queudrue picked out Mikael Forssell who chested the ball down to McSheffrey but he snatched at his shot as it bobbled wide.
The home side had a let-off after seven minutes after Fabrice Muamba had given the ball away in midfield.
Elano threaded the ball through to Benjani and his low shot beat goalkeeper Maik Taylor but struck the post and rebounded out before Queudrue cleared at the expense of a corner.
Manchester City looked shaky at the back and Radhi Jaidi had a header cleared off the line by Elano after he had made good contact on his header from a McSheffrey corner.
McSheffrey had gone 13 months without a league goal in open play and his anxiety surfaced when he volleyed over from 10 yards out when unmarked after Richard Dunne's unintentional back header from a teasing Sebastian Larsson cross fell into his path.
Another superb ball into the box from Larsson almost caught out Dunne who was relieved when he toe-ended the ball over Hart, who was off his line, and onto the roof of his own net.
Queudrue showed great technique with an overhead kick from the edge of the Manchester City area which was tipped over the bar by Hart.
It seemed only a matter of time before Blues broke the deadlock and they finally went ahead after 39 minutes through Zarate's second goal in two games.
The impressive Queudrue was the creator with a superb pass into the path of the Argentinian striker who calmly lobbed the ball over Hart into the corner of the net.
It came as no surprise when another superb finish by Zarate doubled Birmingham's lead after 54 minutes.
Forssell won the ball in the air and his flick-on found McSheffrey who slipped the ball into Zarate and he drilled a low shot past Hart from 15 yards out.
But then Manchester City were handed a lifeline three minutes later as the home side were reduced to 10 men with the sending-off of Queudrue.
Muamba's misplaced pass played Birmingham into trouble and Queudrue was adjudged to have been the last defender as he brought down Benjani in the penalty area.
Queudrue was given his marching orders by referee Rob Styles before Benjani made no mistake from the spot.
Manchester City enjoyed a spell of superiority for the first time but with 13 minutes left McSheffrey scored from the spot after it was adjudged he had been brought down by Sun Jihai.
|Birmingham City||Team Statistics||Manchester City|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||5|
|3||Shots off Target||3|