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Easy does it (Red Bull Salzburg 0, City 2)

16 September 2010

Carlos Tévez and David Silva celebrate the Spaniard's first goal in a City shirt.

The matchup between the richest club in Austria and the wealthiest club in England — and almost certainly in the world — went according to form, with City recording a comfortable 2-0 victory over Red Bull Salzburg.

Following all the attention given to David Silva and Jô in the build-up to this match, it was interesting that the pair step into the spotlight and turn in their best performances at the club. Silva’s early goal calmed any nerves from the previous two matches, while Jô had a hand in both City goals.

Silva’s opener capped off a minute-and-a-half spell of possession for the visitors that saw all 10 outfield players get touches, with the 27th and final pass of the movement coming courtesy of a flick from the toe of Jô back to Silva, who neatly finished to the far post with his supposed weak foot.

Silva nearly doubled his scoring later in the half, when Carlos Tévez found him in good position. The Spaniard cut back inside onto his left, but the goalkeeper recovered well and made a very nice save to deny Silva his second goal.

Jô’s strong performance was rewarded after halftime, when a dangerous Tévez blast from long range stung the hands of Salzburg’s diving keeper, and the rebound fell to the onrushing Jô, who finished coolly. It was the Brazilian’s first goal for City since he found the scoresheet in the 6-0 win over Portsmouth back on September 22, 2008.

Wayne Bridge did make his return as hoped, and his cross found Jô to set up the first goal. Gareth Barry also turned in another strong showing on the left side of the midfield, as he continues to look much improved from last season. Tévez turned in his usual industrious effort before being subbed off late in the second half, with Sunday’s Premier League date clearly in the forefront of Roberto Mancini’s mind at that point.

Joe Hart wasn’t really tested in goal, though he did produce a nervous moment when he screwed his kick out over the byline after a backpass from a teammate, giving Salzburg a bonus corner. It nearly came back to haunt City, but Ibrahim Sekagya’s open header flashed just wide of Hart’s post.

It was great to see City dominate possession. It’s always annoyed me greatly to see teams change their approach and cede possession just because they’re away from home. The commentators noted at one point that the men in midnight blue looked more like the home side with the way they were knocking the ball around.

Even better news came shortly after the full time whistle in Salzburg, when Artjoms Rudņevs’s wondergoal gave Lech Poznań a share of the points at Juventus, greatly boosting City’s chances of winning the group. Here’s the video of that goal:

Now it’s back to domestic affairs, with the short trip to Wigan on Sunday looming. It would be great to see another assured performance away from home like what we saw today.

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