Cole completes City revival
By Andy Clarke. Last Updated: 27/08/05 2:59pm
Manchester City recovered from a goal down to beat Portsmouth 2-1 at the City of Manchester Stadium, earning their third consecutive victory and stretching their unbeaten run to 12 matches.
Fittingly, it was Andy Cole who scored the winning goal which for the first time takes City into a Premiership derby with Manchester United above their neighbours in the league table.
Portsmouth had set out with a defensive 5-4-1 formation, but with Lomana LuaLua outstanding for the first hour they always posed a threat on the break and it was no great surprise when John Viafara headed them in front from Laurent Robert's free-kick.
But the pattern of the match had already been set, with the visitors pegged back in their own penalty area, and the pressure eventually told.
Sander Westerveld, the Pompey goalkeeper, will have to shoulder the blame for failing to gather Trevor Sinclair's hopeful 66th minute cross, but credit must go to Claudio Reyna, who reacted sharply to turn in the loose ball.
Four minutes later City went ahead. Sinclair was once again involved, helping the ball back into the penalty area for Cole to spin and beat Westerveld with a low shot.
Westerveld had been called into action as early as the first minute to push away an overhead kick from Cole which was destined for the top corner of the net, but that was one of only a handful of chances in a forgettable first half.
LuaLua might have put Portsmouth ahead had he been able to reach Robert's inviting left wing cross, while Viafara's near-post flick from a Robert corner just evaded Andy O'Brien's touch.
Kiki Musampa hit the crossbar with an attempt to pick out Sinclair at the far post and Darius Vassell fired into the side-netting after nicking the ball away from Brian Priske.
All the goals came in a more eventful second period, with Viafara striking the first blow in the 52nd minute.
Vassell should have claimed his second goal in a City shirt shortly after Cole had put the home side ahead, but his delicate lob floated just wide of the far post.
Pompey had a chance to snatch an equaliser with an injury-time free-kick in an identical position to one from which they scored their opener but Robert, who so infuriated the management of Newcastle during his time at St James' Park, this time opted to shoot, blazing harmlessly over.
|Manchester City||Team Name||Portsmouth|
|6||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||2|
|7||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||5|
|13||Total Fouls Conceded||20|
Barclays Premier League
|9||West Ham United||27||39|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||27||30|
|17||Queens Park Rangers||26||22|