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Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Sunday, 12 April 2009 18:03 UK

Man City 1-3 Fulham

By Chris Bevan

Dickson Etuhu and John Pantsil celebrate Fulham's second goal
Dickson Etuhu and John Pantsil celebrate Fulham's second goal

Clint Dempsey scored twice as Fulham came back from a goal down to easily see off a poor Manchester City side.

City, who left £32.5m Brazilian Robinho on the bench, struggled until Stephen Ireland scored with a deflected shot.

But Pablo Zabaleta's mistake led to Dempsey levelling with a low shot and Dickson Etuhu made it 2-1 when he fired into the top corner soon afterwards.

Robinho was belatedly brought on but another City error, by Richard Dunne, allowed Dempsey to slot home a third.

The decision to drop Robinho to the bench demonstrated how City boss Mark Hughes is running out of patience with his club's record signing, whose form in recent weeks has been fitful at best.

But if Hughes thought it would galvanise his side ahead of the second leg of their Uefa Cup quarter-final with Hamburg on Thursday, he was to be disappointed.

606: DEBATE

Not even the return of Martin Petrov after almost six months on the sidelines with a knee injury lifted the home side, who looked lethargic for most of the first half-hour and were short of ideas after the break.

City, who need to score at least twice against Hamburg to turn around their deficit from the first leg, will need a huge improvement on this display if they are to trouble the German side.

It was Fulham who took the initiative in the early stages and they created the first opening when Dunne slipped as he tried to deal with a Simon Davies header. The ball dropped for Bobby Zamora but Shay Given was out quickly to block his shot.

The visitors also had claims for a penalty turned down when Dunne and Andy Johnson tussled in the box, while Dempsey wasted a good opportunity when he slipped with the goal gaping and fired well wide.

City, in contrast, were creating next to nothing yet still took the lead on 28 minutes.

Hodgson wants top-ten finish from Fulham

Ireland picked up the ball in his own half and burst forward before trying his luck from the edge of the area with a shot that clipped John Pantsil and looped into the net.

That goal flattered City but they almost had another before half-time when Valeri Bojinov's shot fizzed inches wide.

Fulham, unsurprisingly, looked frustrated after seeing all their early good work go unrewarded but their perseverance paid off after the break.

In the 50th minute, Zabaleta carelessly lost possession and, although Micah Richards did well to stop Zamora, the ball fell perfectly for Dempsey to beat Given with a powerful low shot.

By now, City were looking vulnerable at the back and paid the price for failing to clear their lines from a cross when Etuhu, whose brother Kelvin was in City's side, lashed a powerful shot past Given from the edge of the area.

And things almost got worse for Hughes' beleaguered men when Brede Hangeland somehow headed over from a Davies free-kick with Given stranded.

The home crowd called for Robinho's introduction and got their wish after 63 minutes.

Hughes admits City lacked 'energy'

But the closest he came to rescuing his side came when he was sent clear by fellow substitute Danny Sturridge but failed to get enough power on his shot to beat Mark Schwarzer.

City, who had won their previous six home games, became increasingly desperate near the end and another mistake allowed Dempsey to make sure of the points after 83 minutes.

Dunne was caught out when he tried to intercept a through-ball on the half-way line and Zamora ran through before slipping the American clear and he fired through Given's legs and into the net.

Schwarzer had to make a smart save from Ched Evans' header but Fulham finished up as comfortable winners.

After waiting until 13 March to record their first away Premier League win of the season, Fulham thoroughly deserved their second victory on the road which keeps their bid for seventh place - and a Uefa Cup spot - alive.


Man City: Given, Richards, Onuoha, Dunne, Garrido, Etuhu (Sturridge 64), Zabaleta, Ireland, De Jong, Petrov (Robinho 63), Bojinov (Evans 55). Subs Not Used: Hart, Elano, Fernandes, McGivern.

Goals: Ireland 28.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Etuhu, Murphy (Dacourt 89), Dempsey (Gera 86), Johnson, Zamora (Kamara 86). Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Stoor, Baird.

Booked: Konchesky.

Goals: Dempsey 50, Etuhu 59, Dempsey 83.

Att: 39,841

Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Fulham's Clint Dempsey 7.93 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.



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see also
Robinho needed rest, says Hughes
12 Apr 09 |  Man City
Premier League as it happened
12 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Sunday's football photos
12 Apr 09 |  Premier League


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