Newcastle bowed out of the League Cup last night at the hands of Manchester City thanks to extra-time goals from Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko.
It was a game of fine margins and it could be argued that United deserved the win in 90 minutes, but that extra bit of quality that Manchester City possess proved decisive and ensured that United’s interest in the competiton ended at the last 16 stage.
This is not to say that United didn’t have their chances. Shola Ameobi, Vurnon Anita, Yoan Gouffran and Papiss Cisse all wasted good chances with anoffside flag chalking off an effort from Shola in the first period, but it was always going to be a tough ask and despite giving it a go we just weren’t good enough despite matching City for large periods of the match.
Papiss Cisse twice wasted good chances for Newcastle in the first half as he lobbed the ball wide after Shola Ameobi flicked on Tim Krul’s kick before miscuing a shot from close-range. Shola Amoebi did find the net but, as mentioned earlier, was adjudged to have been offside before Vurnon Anita fired wide from the edge of the box. All Manchester City could really muster was a headed effort from Micah Richards which flew over the bar.
The second period wasn’t quite as industrious as the first but it was still United who should have drew first blood after Shola Ameobi cut inside and shot towards goal only to see his effort tipped wide by Costel Pantilimon who played in place of Joe Hart in goal from Manchester City.
For me though it was two substitutions which tipped the balance in favour of City. The introduction of David Silva gave the away some much needed creativity but on out part it was the introduction of Yohan Cabaye, or removal of Shola Ameobi whichever you prefer, that changed the game. With Shola, as much as he is maligned, we did have a presence up front and Papiss Cisse, despite his misfiring ways, was rarely left isolated but after Ameobi went off we found ourselves struggling in attack.
Extra time started and with came a glorious chance to take the lead after Hatem Ben Arfa lobbed a through ball to Papiss Cisse who timed his run perfectly and controlled the ball with his left foot before firing at the chest of Pantilimon. That miss proved costly as just a few minutes later Edin Dzeko waltzed down the left and squared the ball fro Alvaro Negrado to tap home.
At the end of the first period of extra time City put the game beyond doubt after David Silva and James Milner exchanged passes on the edge of the area with the former Magpie feeding the ball through to Edin Dzeko who rounded Tim Krul and had the easy task of slotting into the back of an unguarded net.
United were out, but they still came close to grabbing a consolation through Hatem Ben Arfa who saw his volley cleared off the line by Joleon Lescott.
Simply put we just weren’t good enough. We tried and created chances but were unable to finish them and that will cost you against the top teams who have the ability to punish you. City did just that. It’s all well and good having the best chances but you need to finish them to win games.
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Williamson, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haidara; Moussa Sissoko, Cheik Tiote, Vurnon Anita, Yoan Gouffran; Shola Ameobi, Papiss Cisse
Subs: Rob Elliot, Paul Dummett, Yohan Cabaye, Sammy Ameobi, Hatem Ben Arfa, Gabriel Obertan, Loic Remy
Manchester City: Costel Pantilimon, Micah Richards, Dedryck Boyata, Joleon Lescott, Aleksandar Kolarov, Jack Rodwell, Javi Garcia, Jesus Navas, James Milner, Stevan Jovetic, Edin Dzeko
Subs: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Samir Nasri, Alvaro Negredo, David Silva, Fernandinho, Martin Demichelis