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Last Updated: 30/08/07 7:04am
Bianchi: Celebrates winner
Sven-Goran Eriksson's most expensive purchase as Manchester City manager spared his embarrassment at Ashton Gate as the Blues squeezed into the Carling Cup third round.
At £8.8million, Rolando Bianchi did not come cheap. But the former Reggina star was the City hero, lashing home from 20 yards to give the Blues victory over Bristol City.
The win was totally deserved and should have been achieved without the late fright Bradley Orr provided Eriksson with when he levelled Emile Mpenza's first-half opener.
Even though the hosts made a bright start, the prospect of a third successive giantkilling seemed highly unlikely until Orr levelled.
A side showing eight changes from the one that went down to Arsenal at the weekend had been too good for their Championship opponents.
The one obvious frailty was their failure to show a touch more subtlety in front of goal. Had they done so, City could have had their place in Saturday's last 32 draw sewn up by half-time.
Mpenza had already wasted one good chance before he broke the deadlock and strike partner Bianchi was just as wasteful on a couple of occasions.
It was a problem which also affected debutant Shalem Logan. The 19-year-old local boy, yet another academy graduate to roll off the City production line into the Blues first-team, took up some superb positions but failed to find a finish.
On the second occasion, he even skipped past home captain Louis Carey inside the box but drilled a low shot into the side-netting.
All the hosts could muster in response was a couple of Lee Trundle efforts, the first of which, admittedly, was a superb curling effort which required a fingertip save from England Under-21 keeper Joe Hart to keep it out.
Given his side's dominance, Eriksson must have shuffled uncomfortably in his seat when Bianchi shaved the post with City's first chance of the second period, knowing full well that with a mere single goal advantage they were in no way safe.
A warning duly arrived on the hour mark when Hart was forced to fling himself across goal to keep out Mark McIndoe's 25-yard piledriver.
Yet City did not heed the alarm call and when McIndoe floated a free-kick onto Marvin Elliott's head midway through the half, Bradley Orr was on hand to hook home from eight yards.
In years gone by, it would have been the signal for a meek surrender by the visitors.
Eriksson, no doubt fearing the kind of penalty shoot-out which scarred his time as England manager, has injected this team with sterner stuff.
And, 10 minutes from the end, Bianchi stepped forward to finish the tie, although McIndoe did provide one last scare before the visiting faithful could celebrate their win.
|Bristol City||Team Statistics||Manchester City|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|3||Shots on Target||3|
|6||Shots off Target||8|