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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 October 2007, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Man City 3-1 Middlesbrough
By Ian Hughes

Elano
Elano was in outstanding form all afternoon
An Elano-inspired Manchester City dispatched injury-ravaged Middlesbrough to maintain their 100% home record.

Boro made their task harder when Chris Riggott diverted the ball into his own goal from Martin Petrov's corner.

That was only eight minutes in and, 25 minutes later, City doubled their lead when the impressive Elano arrowed a 25-yard shot into the bottom corner.

Elano curled in a stunning free-kick after the break to cap a fine display before Ben Hutchinson notched for Boro.

It was another impressive performance from Sven-Goran Eriksson's side, who remain third in the Premier League table, three points behind leaders Arsenal.

606: DEBATE

And it was Eriksson's summer signings who particularly caught the eye - Elano proving the pick of the bunch once again.

How Boro boss Gareth Southgate must have wished he had an equivalent of the skilful Brazilian to call on.

But instead he was forced into giving 20-year-old forward Tom Craddock his first Premier League start as his other first-choice strikers were all unavailable.

There was little chance to see how Boro might fare offensively before they fell behind.

In came Petrov's corner from the right and Riggott, brought in to bolster the Boro defence, side-footed the ball past his own keeper.

Credit to Boro, they did respond well and tried to take the game to their opponents.

But City always looked the more threatening with their possession, with Elano displaying deft touches and Petrov showing his pace.

On 35 minutes, City launched a fast counter-attack which ended with a fierce low drive into the bottom corner from Elano, who had strode on to Michael Johnson's exquisite back heel.

It was a blow for Boro, who might have been on level terms three minutes before had Lee Cattermole done better with a free header that Joe Hart pushed away.

After the break, City quickly had a chance to add to their advantage but Stephen Ireland's shot was well blocked.

Craddock then had his best moment for Boro when he bore down on goal but had his shot smothered at his feet by the on-rushing Hart.

It was just about Craddock's final contribution before he made way for Ben Hutchinson to make his Boro debut.

And though Boro came forward more, they presented no greater threat.

Not so of City, whose crisp passing and swift movement earned them a free-kick on the edge of the box when Emile Mpenza was upended.

It seemed a perfect opportunity for Elano and so it proved as the striker precisely swept the ball from turf to top corner with an effortless swing of his gifted right foot.

An athletic save from Mark Schwarzer prevented Ireland's volley from Elano's pass creeping into the near corner as City threatened again.

On 78 minutes Elano was substituted and left the field to a standing ovation, while Boro will have no doubt been delighted to see the back of him.

But City still had plenty of attacking prowess on the field and it took a superb save from a stretched Schwarzer to prevent Petrov making it 4-0 late in the game.

The home side had the points wrapped up but it was Boro who scored the final goal of the game when Hutchinson reacted fastest to slot home after Hart had kept out a shot.


  • Man City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson:
    "We played good football and there were good combinations and Elano scored two fantastic goals.

    "I was pleased we scored from a corner as well. I am very happy.

    "Maybe we defender better last weekend than we did today but that is a minor criticism. We have been doing very well at home and if we keep going like this, that is very good."

  • Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate:
    "We planned to keep things tight. But we were on the back foot after an early set-piece.

    "We had as much possession as them and created chances. But we are giving away sloppy goals and that costs you games.

    "We had to be more offensive after the break and we had a couple of chances, but they broke, we conceded a free-kick and they punished us."


    Man City: Hart, Corluka, Dunne, Richards, Garrido, Ireland, Hamann, Johnson (Ball 60), Petrov, Mpenza (Samaras 74), Elano (Geovanni 78).
    Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Onuoha.

    Booked: Richards, Geovanni.

    Goals: Riggott 10 og, Elano 33, 63.

    Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Young, Riggott, Woodgate, Taylor, O'Neil, Boateng (Sanli 46), Rochemback, Cattermole, Downing, Craddock (Hutchinson 59).
    Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Shawky, Wheater.

    Booked: Woodgate, Young, O'Neil.

    Goals: Hutchinson 89.

    Att: 40,438

    Ref: Steve Bennett (Kent).



    SEE ALSO
    Premier League as it happened
    07 Oct 07 |  Premier League
    Sunday's football photos
    07 Oct 07 |  Football
    Micah Richards column
    06 Oct 07 |  Football


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