Manchester City’s brave and determined victory over Porto in the Estadio de Dragao on Thursday was marked by the return of YaYa Toure. We knew we had missed him, and Aguerro’s winning goal in the 84th minute showed City’s mettle and Toure’s class. His incisive run into the penalty area was a reminder of the goals in the final and semi-final of the FA cup, and will have settled a lot of nerves ahead of the run-in to the premiership title.
When he sets out on a run Toure seems to be moving in treacle as his legs go through the gears, but his close control and power always gives City an edge when they are being closed down – without Toure the choice is always another pass – whilst his runs provide new options for the rest of the attack.
This was a torrid night though – for Balotelli and Toure, who were the victims of alleged racist abuse – and for the rest of the team who received 6 yellow cards between them: it could have been more. The papers are reporting City’s interest in Hulk – there is a buy out clause worth €100 million. I’m not sure. Toure and Nasri were guilty of professional fouls, but the playacting of the Porto team, and in particular Hulk was embarrassing, contributing to the high number of cautions.
It was like a primary school playground, all pouting faces and tears. Hulk is as he sounds – a big bloke – with a lantern jaw a bit like Desperate Dan. It looks to me like a glass jaw though. The Incredible Sulk!
As for The Guardian – well I wouldn’t mention this normally – my favourite paper and all that – just taken out a subscription for the weekend editions – it’s only my deep and endearing love for Micah Richards that prompts me to come clean. Poor old Micah – he’s been ignored by that nasty Italian, Fabio Capello – and now Pearce is in charge maybe – just maybe – Richards might get a chance in the right back position he so richly deserves. Pearce – we all know he’s a bit of a reader! But I don’t want Pearce reading this morning’s Guardian report, and getting it wrong, like their reporter did.
You see it wasn’t Helton, the goalkeeper, “zipping past” Richards to cross the ball for Porto’s goal. It was Hulk zipping past Kompany. Varela didn’t beat Kompany to the finish – it was Cliché who was scrabbling desperately to block the shot. Now I’m not a stickler for accuracy, but I do hope that Stuart Pearce doesn’t read that, and think twice about selecting Richards next week for England. In my view that would be a mistake.
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