The failure of a fitness test just before kickoff by Micah Richards was a clear harbinger of things to come from City. Pompey, bruised and beaten and having just gone through a managerial change dominated the first half. City’s best opportunity to score came around minute 20 when Craig Bellamy laid off a ball for Elano. With seemingly all day to pick the target, the Brazilian missed entirely.
Elano scored midweek for Brazil against Italy at Ashburton Grove, but he looked horrible on Saturday filling in for the suspended Shaun Wright Phillips on the right flank. His Brazilian mate, Robinho who was also brilliant at midweek was if anything even less effective.
City’s backline held up for much of the first half even against the brilliance of Glen Johnson and effective runs of Jermaine Pennant. Dave Nugent, one time England striker kept City level by missing an open target more than once. Shay Given did the best he could to throw Nugent off, including once on a breakaway when Wayne Bridge had pushed so far upfield to try and provide the service that Robinho was incapable or perhaps unwilling to provide.
Shalem Logan made his Premier League debut: not his Man City debut however, as he featured in the League Cup a year and a half ago under Sven Goran Eriksson. Logan looked raw at times but did more to supplement the attack from the right back position than the ineffective Elano did.
Craig Bellamy provided some moments in this match thanks to his legendary and volatile temper. Even after the match Bellamy could be seen trying to lecture the officials. Vincent Company serving as captain for the match tried his best to calm down Bellamy but it was to no avail.
A lack of composure always follows when City falls behind and after Glen Johnson’s brilliant strike midway through the second half the side went to pieces. Robinho, ineffective as always away from Eastlands had already been subbed out, while his Brazilian mate Elano continued his personal efforts to keep Pompey clear of the relegation zone.
Late in the match, the slow and awkward Peter Crouch began to resemble Lionel Messi, getting behind the City defense easily. Had City not made the transfer deadline deal to acquire Shay Given, this scoreline could have been worse and more embarrassing.
Earlier in the week we asked the question as to whether or not Mark Hughes knew how to manage Brazilian attacking players. But the shameful performances by Robinho and Elano against a side that had not won a Premier League match in close to three months beg the question as to whether the duo simply are further proof as to how far Brazil has fallen in the world football pecking order under Dunga.
2-0 was the final scoreline, and City’s woes away from Eastlands continue. The Blues last won away from home in August.
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