Date: 12th April 2009 at 8:10pm
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City fell flat as Fulham came back from a goal down at half-time to crush a lackluster Manchester City side.

Two goals from American Clint Dempsey and a suburb strike from Manchester City academy graduate Dickson Etuhu secured three points for Europa League hopefuls Fulham.

British record signing Robinho started on the bench, a bold move by City boss Mark Hughes. Martin Petrov started in his place, his first game for the Blues since almost six months.

Kelvin Etuhu started on the right for the City’s prodigal son Shaun Wright-Phillips with Valeri Bojinov up front for the injured Bellamy.

The game started off at snails pace with the back four content to pass it between themselves, seemingly oblivious that the pitch extended beyond their own half.

It was Fulham who created the better of the chances in the early stages with Bobby Zamora taking a shot on the turn straight at the onrushing Shay Given who blocked the shot.

Clint Dempsey then wasted a glorious opportunity to put Fulham in front after he slipped, firing well wide of the City goal.

On 28 minutes, against the run of play, Manchester City scored. Stephen Ireland picked up the ball in the City half, carving through the midfield before unleashing a spectacular shot from the edge of the area which clipped John Pantsil and looped over Schwarzer and into the back of the net.

The goal gave City a bit of confidence and Valeri Bojinov tried his luck before half-time shooting narrowly wide.

Half Time: Manchester City 1 Fulham 0

Fulham came out guns blazing in the second-half, looking aggrieved at the scoreline.

In the 50th minute, Pablo Zabaleta carelessly lost possession to Zamora who burst through the City defence only for Micah Richards to pull of a great tackle to dispossess him. Unluckily for City, the ball fell perfectly for Dempsey to slot home past Given and bring the scores level.

City fell apart at the back and academy graduate Dickson Etuhu put Fulham in the lead after a wonderfully hit shot past Given from the edge of the area.

Mark Hughes’ side had nothing in the tank and it could have got a lot worse after much admired Fulham defender Brede Hangeland missed a sitter after heading over the bar from a Davies free-kick.

On 63 minutes Hughes introduced young Daniel Sturridge and Brazilian super-star Robinho to change City’s fortunes.

Robinho could have got City back in the game after Daniel Sturridge played him clean through. The Brazilian’s sorry effort was right at Schwarzer and the keeper saved easily.

After that, Fulham took the game by the scruff of the neck and capitalised on a spectacular error from Richard Dunne who was pulled completely out of position allowing Zamora to run through and play in Dempsey who secured the win after 83 minutes.

Ched Evans nearly gave City hope but his low header was well saved and Fulham saw the game out in comfortable fashion.

Full Time: Manchester City 1 Fulham 3

Share Your Thoughts
This game was a must win for Hughes and for Manchester City. Seventh place now looks out of reach and any glimmer of hope hangs in the balance.

Hamburg will be rubbing their hands together as they sense an easy victory against an incredibly poor City side.

Hughes fielded a bold starting eleven but his faith in certain players will have certainly diminished as they failed to take their opportunity to shine.

Etuhu had little success on the right, as did Petrov on the left. Only Evans and Sturridge made an impression, but neither one could force a goal.

With such a weak attack down either side, City’s attack was completely nullified leaving the back four to pass the ball around aimlessly.

Forget seventh place, forget the UEFA Cup, if City are to achieve anything, it is to get in a load of quality players in the summer- and some would even go as far as to say: a different manager.


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