Writer: S Wilton
Date:Monday November 8 2010
7 November 2010 - 3.00pm
The multi-millionaires of Man City strolled into town and they were allowed to stroll around the pitch in the first half when the game was settled. Mario Ballotelli scored both goals but his petulance resulted in a later sending off.
The Baggies showed no urgency in the first half as if they were still hungover from Monday's game against Blackpool when they played for much of the night with just nine men. They allowed Man City to pass the ball around as if they had been given the freedom of Sandwell. Albion will be very disappointed that they did not come out of the blocks more quickly, however, they could have been ahead early in the game when Chris Brunt burst through the City defence only to have the ball nipped away from his foot and just past Joe Hart's left hand post. From then on the first half belonged to Man City and they Balotelli scored sliding in at the far post after Tevez crossed from Cech's flank. He scored again after some poor play from Tamas who had appeared to have the opportunity to clear the ball but he fluffed it and the Italian was able to fire a low shot past Carson. The break came without further chances for either side and it was clear that Di Matteo needed to make changes but unfortunately he didn't seem to think that way and the same eleven entered the field, several minutes before the Manchester City players who wanted to let everybody know that they were calling the shots.
The second half did improve for the Baggies as they played with a tempo not apparent in the first period. Chances came, such as a strike off the crossbar from the overall disappointing Cox, another effort was cleared off the line, Joe Hart made a superb one handed save from a rasping strike from Brunt and Scharner should have done better with a free header. Despite Albion's best efforts in the second half they just couldn't force their way back into the game.
After the game the main talking points were the sending off of Balotelli and Mulumbu. Balotelli got his marching orders for kicking Mulumbu whilst he was on the floor. In truth the Italian could easily have been sent off earlier in the game for some crude challenges and idiotic diving. In the same incident Mulumbu was booked although it was not clear to anybody in the crowd or even to Mulumbu himself. Shortly afterwards he received a second yellow card for a scything tackle on Tevez which could easily have resulted in a straight red card.
City are to appeal the Italian's red card but it would seem absolutely ridiculous and make a mockery of the appeal system if it were to succeed.
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Date:Monday November 8 2010
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