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Football: Lacklustre Man City Settle For Fulham Draw

Posted on: December 7, 2008

LONDON : Manchester City were held to a 1-1 draw at Fulham as Jimmy Bullard cancelled out Benjani Mwaruwari’s opener for the visitors on Saturday.

Zimbabwe forward Benjani had put City ahead early in the first half at Craven Cottage but Bullard equalised before the break and Fulham were the stronger side after that.

City have won just once in their last seven matches and remain dangerously close to the relegation zone despite manager Mark Hughes’s multi-million pound spending spree in pre-season.

Hughes has been given a vote of confidence by City’s Abu Dhabi based owners but he will struggle to survive if his side produce many more lacklustre displays like this.

Fulham finished frustrated at their failure to turn possession into more goals but Roy Hodgson’s team are now unbeaten in five matches and comfortably positioned in mid-table.

Hodgson said: “We could complain about not getting a penalty as so many do but we played well enough.”

Hughes added: “We’ll take a point because we were a bit light in numbers. We had 12 senior players out and we played in midweek as well so we were worried about the effect on the energy levels.

“It’s the first points we’ve picked up after a European date so I’m reasonably happy. I thought we looked stronger as the game wore on.”

Hughes was without two of his Brazilian stars as Robinho failed to shake off an ankle injury in time and Elano was sidelined with a groin strain. As if that wasn’t bad enough, England defender Micah Richards was ruled out with an ankle problem.

Despite those absences, City made the perfect start when Benjani outjumped both Aaron Hughes and Brede Hangeland to head home Pablo Zabaleta’s cross in the sixth minute.

Stephen Ireland should have increased City’s lead but the midfielder fired wide following a poor punch from Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

Fulham gradually came into the match and had strong claims for a penalty turned down in the 22nd minute as Richard Dunne looked to have handled.

Hodgson’s team threatened again moments later when Andrew Johnson surged through on goal, only for City keeper Joe Hart to race off his line and bravely smothered the striker’s effort.

Fulham were finally rewarded for their pressure in the 27th minute when Bobby Zamora’s clever reverse pass found Bullard in space and the midfielder looked up before lashing his shot across Hart into the far corner for his first league goal this season.

The visitors responded and Darius Vassell tested Schwarzer with a stinging effort.

It was Fulham who finished the half on top though. Clint Dempsey drilled wide following Johnson’s lay-off and then headed Bullard’s cross over the bar.

Zamora, who has scored only one league goal all season, wasted two good chances early in the second half. The former West Ham forward drove over from Johnson’s pass, then turned and shot just wide of the far post.

Zabaleta was close to restoring City’s lead when he made a dynamic run into the Fulham penalty area and forced Schwarzer into an agile save.

It took a fine save from Hart to deny Bullard’s rasping free-kick midway through the half, before Schwarzer kept out Zabaleta from close range in the closing minutes.

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia

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Football: Lacklustre Man City Settle For Fulham Draw

Posted on: December 7, 2008

LONDON : Manchester City were held to a 1-1 draw at Fulham as Jimmy Bullard cancelled out Benjani Mwaruwari’s opener for the visitors on Saturday.

Zimbabwe forward Benjani had put City ahead early in the first half at Craven Cottage but Bullard equalised before the break and Fulham were the stronger side after that.

City have won just once in their last seven matches and remain dangerously close to the relegation zone despite manager Mark Hughes’s multi-million pound spending spree in pre-season.

Hughes has been given a vote of confidence by City’s Abu Dhabi based owners but he will struggle to survive if his side produce many more lacklustre displays like this.

Fulham finished frustrated at their failure to turn possession into more goals but Roy Hodgson’s team are now unbeaten in five matches and comfortably positioned in mid-table.

Hodgson said: “We could complain about not getting a penalty as so many do but we played well enough.”

Hughes added: “We’ll take a point because we were a bit light in numbers. We had 12 senior players out and we played in midweek as well so we were worried about the effect on the energy levels.

“It’s the first points we’ve picked up after a European date so I’m reasonably happy. I thought we looked stronger as the game wore on.”

Hughes was without two of his Brazilian stars as Robinho failed to shake off an ankle injury in time and Elano was sidelined with a groin strain. As if that wasn’t bad enough, England defender Micah Richards was ruled out with an ankle problem.

Despite those absences, City made the perfect start when Benjani outjumped both Aaron Hughes and Brede Hangeland to head home Pablo Zabaleta’s cross in the sixth minute.

Stephen Ireland should have increased City’s lead but the midfielder fired wide following a poor punch from Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

Fulham gradually came into the match and had strong claims for a penalty turned down in the 22nd minute as Richard Dunne looked to have handled.

Hodgson’s team threatened again moments later when Andrew Johnson surged through on goal, only for City keeper Joe Hart to race off his line and bravely smothered the striker’s effort.

Fulham were finally rewarded for their pressure in the 27th minute when Bobby Zamora’s clever reverse pass found Bullard in space and the midfielder looked up before lashing his shot across Hart into the far corner for his first league goal this season.

The visitors responded and Darius Vassell tested Schwarzer with a stinging effort.

It was Fulham who finished the half on top though. Clint Dempsey drilled wide following Johnson’s lay-off and then headed Bullard’s cross over the bar.

Zamora, who has scored only one league goal all season, wasted two good chances early in the second half. The former West Ham forward drove over from Johnson’s pass, then turned and shot just wide of the far post.

Zabaleta was close to restoring City’s lead when he made a dynamic run into the Fulham penalty area and forced Schwarzer into an agile save.

It took a fine save from Hart to deny Bullard’s rasping free-kick midway through the half, before Schwarzer kept out Zabaleta from close range in the closing minutes.

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia

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Football: Lacklustre Man City Settle For Fulham Draw

Posted on: December 7, 2008

LONDON : Manchester City were held to a 1-1 draw at Fulham as Jimmy Bullard cancelled out Benjani Mwaruwari’s opener for the visitors on Saturday.

Zimbabwe forward Benjani had put City ahead early in the first half at Craven Cottage but Bullard equalised before the break and Fulham were the stronger side after that.

City have won just once in their last seven matches and remain dangerously close to the relegation zone despite manager Mark Hughes’s multi-million pound spending spree in pre-season.

Hughes has been given a vote of confidence by City’s Abu Dhabi based owners but he will struggle to survive if his side produce many more lacklustre displays like this.

Fulham finished frustrated at their failure to turn possession into more goals but Roy Hodgson’s team are now unbeaten in five matches and comfortably positioned in mid-table.

Hodgson said: “We could complain about not getting a penalty as so many do but we played well enough.”

Hughes added: “We’ll take a point because we were a bit light in numbers. We had 12 senior players out and we played in midweek as well so we were worried about the effect on the energy levels.

“It’s the first points we’ve picked up after a European date so I’m reasonably happy. I thought we looked stronger as the game wore on.”

Hughes was without two of his Brazilian stars as Robinho failed to shake off an ankle injury in time and Elano was sidelined with a groin strain. As if that wasn’t bad enough, England defender Micah Richards was ruled out with an ankle problem.

Despite those absences, City made the perfect start when Benjani outjumped both Aaron Hughes and Brede Hangeland to head home Pablo Zabaleta’s cross in the sixth minute.

Stephen Ireland should have increased City’s lead but the midfielder fired wide following a poor punch from Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

Fulham gradually came into the match and had strong claims for a penalty turned down in the 22nd minute as Richard Dunne looked to have handled.

Hodgson’s team threatened again moments later when Andrew Johnson surged through on goal, only for City keeper Joe Hart to race off his line and bravely smothered the striker’s effort.

Fulham were finally rewarded for their pressure in the 27th minute when Bobby Zamora’s clever reverse pass found Bullard in space and the midfielder looked up before lashing his shot across Hart into the far corner for his first league goal this season.

The visitors responded and Darius Vassell tested Schwarzer with a stinging effort.

It was Fulham who finished the half on top though. Clint Dempsey drilled wide following Johnson’s lay-off and then headed Bullard’s cross over the bar.

Zamora, who has scored only one league goal all season, wasted two good chances early in the second half. The former West Ham forward drove over from Johnson’s pass, then turned and shot just wide of the far post.

Zabaleta was close to restoring City’s lead when he made a dynamic run into the Fulham penalty area and forced Schwarzer into an agile save.

It took a fine save from Hart to deny Bullard’s rasping free-kick midway through the half, before Schwarzer kept out Zabaleta from close range in the closing minutes.

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia

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