Europa League – City ease past Timisoara

Manchester City eased into the Europa League group stage with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Timisoara at the City of Manchester Stadium on Thursday.

The home side rarely moved out of second gear in a lacklustre encounter, in which City’s Romanian visitors struggled to provide any threat on Joe Hart‘s goal.

Shaun Wright-Phillips and Dedryck Boyata scored the winning goals in the 43rd and 59th minutes, though Emmanuel Adebayor and Jo wasted clear-cut chances to make the margin of victory even more comfortable for City.

Roberto Mancini made five changes from City’s 1-0 first-leg victory in Romania, with blockbuster summer signing Yaya Toure and captain Carlos Tevez both starting on the bench.

Brazilian striker Jo was, instead, given a chance to fight for his place in Manchester City’s ever-expanding squad, and promising 19-year-old defender Dedryck Boyata was handed his first start of the season alongside Vincent Kompany at centre-back.

The home side dominated possession in the first half, but lacked any sort of cutting edge in front of goal, with Timisoara intent on sitting back and soaking up the pressure.

The first chance of the half fell to Jo on the half-hour mark, but the Brazilian’s header failed to beat Costel Pantilimon after David Silva‘s pinpoint cross.

With the clock ticking ever closer to half-time, City finally showed their class with just two minutes left to play.

Patrick Vieira – starting in place of Yaya Toure in the centre of City’s midfield – split Timisoara’s centre-backs with a perfect through ball to Wright-Phillips, who slammed a right foot shot inside Pantilimon’s right post with his first touch.

With their Romanian visitors needing two goals to advance, City emerged at half time looking far more relaxed on the ball, and with a freedom of expression made possible by the two-goal cushion.

With 14 minutes played in the half, Boyata scored his first senior goal for City with a text-book defender’s goal – rising highest at the far post to head home a quality delivery from Silva’s left boot.

The goal almost set off a City goal-frenzy, with Adebayor missing an open goal a minute later after some hapless defending from Ovidiu Burca, and Jo again sending a free header off target just seconds later.

They proved to be the last real chances of the match, with City happy to play for possession, and Vladimir Petrovic’s Timisoara seemingly desperate for the final whistle.

The draw for the Europa League group stages takes place at 12pm on Friday, LIVE on British Eurosport and Eurosport HD.

John Stead / Eurosport

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