NEWCASTLE UNITED 0 MANCHESTER CITY 2 (Capital One Cup)
City have Costel Pantilimon to thank for saving a point blank effort from Papiss Cisse just two minutes into Extra Time before late goals by Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko finally quelled the Newcastle resistance in an open Capital One cup tie at St James’ Park. It was just one of two great saves by the Romanian who was looking to impress City manager Manuel Pellegrini.
City’s changed side were improved by the introduction of substitutes Negredo, on for luckless Stevan Jovetic who picked up a calf injury within 10 minutes, Pablo Zabaleta who replaced captain Micah Richards following his injury, and David Silva who helped orchestrate City’s winning moves.
All eyes were on Pantilimon during the game – selected as expected instead of under-fire Joe Hart – and he was tested regularly by a feisty Newcastle side who had a point to prove in front of their own fans and will hope his performance tonight will be enough to get the nod from City manager Manuel Pellegrini for a first Premier League start in the game against Norwich City on Saturday.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew was looking for a reaction from his players after their weekend defeat at Sunderland and his men certainly applied themselves against City and made them work hard throughout the game until their level dropped in Extra Time and City pounced.
City arrived at St James’ Park with only Javi Garcia retaining his place from their weekend defeat at Stamford Bridge and there was a surprise start for Dedryck Boyata in central defence alongside Joleon Lescott. The Magpies edged the first half in terms of clear cut chances, though, as they sought to give their fans something to cheer but their main striker Papiss Cisse remains woefully short of confidence and waste several early chances for Newcastle.
They even had the ball in the back of the net during their most profitable first half period after Shola Ameobi, who had earlier tested Pantilimon, redirected’s Cisse’s off-target effort past the Romanian from an offside position.
City improved as the game went on and James Milner could have opened the scoring against his former club when he blasted high with Krul off his line, while Negredo passed up two excellent chances as City pushed for a normal time winner.
Newcastle earned another shot at City after it ended goal-less in normal time but apart from an early Extra Time panic for City, it was the visitors who took control of the tie.
An extra time brilliant save will have been the moment that Pantilimon will savour when he dived low to prevent Cisse from scoring when put clean through by Hatem Ben Arfa. It proved to be a costly miss for the home side as City finally found their shooting boots in the 99th minute.
Negredo finally got the better of the home defence when Dzeko’s low cross following good work by Silva allowed Negredo to finish with a tap-in from 6 yards as Newcastle’s defence finally went to sleep and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was caught wrong-footed towards the end of the first period of added time.
St James’ Park fell silent and City sensed a chance to put the game beyond the shell shocked home side. They didn’t have to wait long until Edin Dzeko rounded Krul in the 115th minute to make it 2-0 at half time in extra time after great interplay between Silva and Milner who put Dzeko in to finish off the Magpies’ resistance.