Monday, 26th Jan 2015 09:33
Middlesbrough manager Karanka got his tactics absolutely perfect to stun Manuel Pellegrini, who rightly admitted afterwards that City’s Championship opponents “deserved” to win. Pellegrini would not though blame City's mid-week trip to Abu Dhabi for the defeat. “Of course, I understand how it looks,” Pellegrini told the Independent. “Everyone can have their own opinion. I don’t think it was the reason we lost but I will accept all opinions. “It was not a game against Chelsea and I don’t want to say [whether I would have done the same thing] because you are asking me something that is not relevant.”
As the first half started there was little evidence to show what was to follow. If it was not for the heroics of Boro keeper Tomas Mejias City would have been out of sight. Aleksandar Kolarov and Stevan Jovetic were first denied before James Milner could hardly believe the Spaniard’s elasticity to turn around a low strike which was heading into the corner of the net.
Mejias’s fellow countryman David Silva was the next to curse, a venomous effort being deflected just wide, while a fierce drive from Jovetic almost cut him in two.
Into the second half and City midfielder Fernando's defensive error allowed on-loan Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford to put Middlesbrough in front on 53 minutes.
Middlesbrough's Friend then made an important intervention in the 73rd minute with a challenge to deny Sergio Aguero.
City introduced Frank Lampard and the former England man, almost came up with the answer as the clock ticked down. Receiving the ball just outside the box, he shimmied and sent a shot which deflected off Adam Clayton’s outstretched foot, only for the inside of the post to come to Boro’s rescue.
City continued to be frustrated by the Championship side and with time running out Middlesbrough substitute Kike added a second to seal the victory.
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