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West Ham United
1 May 2011
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 44511
N. de Jong 10'
P. Zabaleta 15'
West Ham United
D. Ba 33'
It turned out to be a massively nervous display from Manchester City, who almost appeared to stop trying after the 14th minute, and it could've gone horribly wrong for them, however, West Ham couldn't really take their chances and City claim the three points.
Full time at Eastlands! City have almost sured-up Champions League qualification for next season with this win, whilst West Ham remain in the midst of a relegation battle.
West Ham really looking to attack here too! great ball by Obinna from halfway line finds Cole on left flank. He cuts inside and shoots. His shots appeared to be heading towards the goal, but it is cleared before it can reach Hart.
Another chance for Silva! Good vision from Toure in his own half releases Silva who charged down on the West Ham box, cut onto his left foot and drove a shot goalwards, however the impressive Spaniard couldn't hit the target.
Two good chances for City in quick succession! Firstly, Dzeko does well to cross hard and low from the right, but Da Costa and Tomkins managed to get there ahead of Balotelli. Right after that, Obinna, attempted to dribble the ball out of trouble, but the man on-loan from Inter was dispossessed, giving Silva the chance to shoot at goal, but Green was equal to it, tipping over.
Our man at Eastlands, Greg Stobart, gives some more insight: "Judging from some of the noises of anguish coming from the City fans, you would think they were losing here. They are worried by the lack of movement and the absence of cutting edge in the penalty box today. Roberto Mancini seems to share their thoughts as he encourages Adam Johnson to run at Danny Gabbidon and create the third City goal that would seal the three points for the hosts."
Hammers boss Avram Grant showing intent as he brings Victor Obinna on for Luis Boa Morte.
City go close this time! Good link-up play between Balotelli and Kolarov, with the Serbian cutting the ball back for Silva, who attempted to stab the ball goalwards with his right foot, but once again, West Ham clear.
Nearly for West Ham! Hitzlsperger's deep free-kick sails all the way through to Hart, but Ba very nearly managed to get a flick on it just ahead of the English man.
James Milner forces Green into a save as the former Aston Villa man gets on the end of a West Ham clearance and volleys left footed towards the goal. Green easily stops it easily, avoiding any World Cup-esque catastrophe.
Yellow Card Adam Johnson
End-to-end stuff at the moment! Silva did well to release Toure down the left, with the Ivorian crossing towards Balotelli, but it was cleared by West Ham. Seconds later, Johnson cuts in from the right on to his left foot before shooting wildly.
Yellow Card Gareth Barry
How did City not score there?! Silva found himself one-on-one with Green, but attempted to dance round the 'keeper, before cutting back on himself in an attempt to set up Balotelli, who in turn shot tamely at goal. His shot very nearly found it's way in via Tomkins, but Da Costa was there to help clear. Dramatic stuff at Eastlands!
Great chance for West Ham!! Da Costa rise highest for Hitzlsperger's in-swinging corner, but he draws a fine save from Hart!
As West Ham look threatening, here's another update from Greg: "Roberto Mancini is starting to look a little anxious on the touchline as he screams at Mario Balotelli before ordering Edin Dzeko to start warming up. The Italian's mood at the moment reflects some tension around the ground as West Ham begin to grow in confidence. Maybe Scott Parker was in the dressing room to give a half-time teamtalk."
Demba Ba is looking very lively up front for the visitors as he draws a foul from Balotelli near the halfway line. He is involved in almost everything and using his power very much to his teams advantage.
A quite incredible shot there by Ba as he received the ball on the edge of the area before slicing his shot ridiculously high and wide, going closer to the corner flag than the goal.
Balotelli hits the bar! Ba lost the ball in the City half and Silva took the game to West Ham, releasing Balotelli to his left. The Italian cut back onto his right foot and curled a shot towards the top far corner, but his shot hit the bar, falling to Toure who smashed the rebound at Green, before the Ivorian was flagged offside.
Little goalmouth action so far in this half for either side as both teams are looking to control possession, but neither can. Very much a period of transition.
I don't wish to tempt fate, but West Ham have actually looked better defensively since Da Costa replaced the injured Upson.
Yellow Card Danny Gabbidon
Danny Gabbidon has picked up a booking after bringing down Johnson who drifted past the Welshman like he wasn't there.
Nigel De Jong
And we're off again at Eastlands, with James Milner replacing goalscorer Nigel De Jong who is carrying a knock.
Here's a halftime update from Greg at Eastlands: "What a strange half of football. It looked like it could be a very long afternoon for West Ham after they fell 2-0 down within the first 15 minutes and looked all over the place defensively. The game has changed, however, since Demba Ba pulled one back for the visitors in the 33rd minute and it has been a far more even contest. City seemed to unnecessarily take their foot off the pedal and their manager Roberto Mancini will be keen to make sure his side put the game to bed early in the second-half."
Halftime at Eastlands. Manchester City deservedly lead relegation battling West Ham, but after looking dead and gone in the first 20 minuntes, the Hammers have fought back well with Ba's goal giving them a lifeline.
45' + 1'
In a week where discussions on diving and play-acting have been very much at the fore, Balotelli goes down like he'd been hit by a truck following a slight collision with Da Costa.
West Ham are certainly not giving up here. 20 minutes ago I wouldn't have been wrong if I'd said they already looked relegated. However, they are showing decent fighting spirit.
A spot of head-tennis ensues between both sides before City move to attack their visitors, and after a good move involving Silva, Toure and Johnson, but Kolarov's heavy touch ruins it and it all comes to nothing.
Toure and Silva attempting to link-up on the edge of the box. Jacobsen puts the ball out for a corner.
Yellow Card Pablo Zabaleta
Assist Robbie Keane
Goal Demba Ba
GOAL!!! West Ham are back in it! Hitzlsperger's left-wing cross bounced up against Lescott's arm in the penalty area, but Demba Ba made the most of Lecott's poor reaction, sliding the ball past Hart from eight yards! 2-1, game on!
Brilliant play by Yaya Toure! He skipped away from two West Ham players with ultimate ease before marching towards the penalty area and shooting from 20 yards. The shot went well wide, but it was trademark Toure.
More bad news for the hammers. Captain Matthew Upson is being withdrawn for Manuel Da Costa after the England International failed to knock off an earlier injury.
Manuel da Costa
West Ham are really missing Scott Parker in the middle. They look very pedestrian without their maestro as they can't keep the ball once they get it.
The home side are really knocking the ball around with the utmost confidence. Balotelli is also looking fairly joyous.
Assist David Silva
Goal Pablo Zabaleta
GOAL!!! It's 2 for City now, and they already look rampant! Great play down the right by Zabaleta as he charged up the right wing, into the penalty area before crossing low, where Lars Jabobsen could only help the ball over the line.
He is also gave his thoughts on the De Jong goal: He doesn't score many – in fact he never scores – but that was a super hit from Nigel De Jong to take City another step closer to next season's Champions League. The crowd respond by doing 'the Poznan', a dance that has grown in popularity this season and looks simply awesome once the whole stadium is taking part.
Here is another update from the stadium courtesy of our man Greg Stobart: "It took just seven minutes for a group of Manchester City fans on the other side of the ground to ignore club advice and sing a song referring to Manchester United as 'the Munichs'. Disappointing to hear."
Goal Nigel De Jong
GOAL!!!!!!! Nigel De Jong! That's a quite fantastic finish from the Dutchman! Not a bad way to grab your first goal for the club! City's corner was cleared poorly by West Ham and the former Hamburg man latched onto it from 25 yards out and placed it into the bottom far corner. Great start for City, great goal.
Nearly a good chance for West Ham. Hitzlsperger's left-wing free-kick dropped to Tomkins, but his touch was heavy and once he attempted a shot, Kompany closed him down.
City's midfield is looking very fluid early on, with Silva, Barry and De Jong all making forward runs. They look like they are playing with a lot less pressure.
David Silva already looking to control the game, picking the ball up centrally, laying it off for Barry who eventually shoots into Green's hands.
City have started on the front foot. Adam Johnson is already looking to attack his full-back, cutting in from the right, finds Silva who shoots wide, but wins a corner.
And we are off at Eastlands with the home side kicking off, shooting from right to left.
Great save by Hart! Keane latched onto a clever pass between the City left-back and left centre-back, but when one-on-one with Hart, Keane attempted to chip the England 'keeper, but he couldn't find the net.
Here's another atmosphere update for you from Mr. Stobart: "Great atmosphere at Eastlands this afternoon, with the home supporters in celebratory mood as they watch City boss the game. It's been a superb two weeks for the club, but chants of 'champions' do seem a little premature unless I'm missing something."
He also said: "Judging from the warm-up, the hosts have little to fear from West Ham today. The visitors keep-ball game was one of the worst I have ever seen – they could hardly string two passes together and it was like watching a bunch of seven-year-olds in a playground. A paltry turnout in the away end reflects a feeling back in east London that they have little hope of survival."
Our man at Eastlands today, Greg Stobart has given his view on things before kick off: "It's buzzing around Eastlands today, where live music has been played in the 'City Zone' outside the stadium. The City fans know that victory today against rock-bottom West Ham will all but confirm the club's place in the Champions League next season."
And West Ham's starting XI is: Green; Jacobsen, Tomkins, Upson, Gabbidon; Sears, Spector, Hitzlsperger, Boa-Morte; Ba, Keane. Subs: Boffin, Reid, Da Costa, Kovac, Obinna, Piquionne, Cole
The Manchester City team for the match is as follows: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov; De Jong, Barry; A Johnson, Y Toure, Silva; Balotelli. Subs: Taylor, Boyata, Vieira, Milner, Wright-Phillips, Dzeko, Jo.
Welcome to Goal.com's Live Text Commentary of Manchester City versus West ham United.
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