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'Nouveau riche' Man City struggle to beat Cypriot team

Latest update : 2008-09-19

Two goals by Manchester City's Brazilian striker Jo in the second half of their UEFA Cup tie against Cypriots Omonia Nicosia were just enough to help the newly super-rich English team secure a hard-fought 2-1 win.

Cash-rich Manchester City needed a brace from Brazilian striker Jo to overcome Cypriot minnows Omonia Nicosia 2-1 in this UEFA Cup first round, first leg tie here on Thursday.

Omonia surprisingly went ahead from Klodian Duro's direct free kick on the edge of the area after 49 minutes but Jo grabbed the headlines with two second-half goals to clinch victory.

Jo levelled the score in the 59th minute with a simple tap in after Elias Charalambous had failed to clear the ball as Sean Wright-Phillips took it off him to set up his team-mate.

The Brazilian secured victory on 72 minutes when, unmarked inside the area, he had time to trap the ball and pick his spot with a low drive into the right-hand corner.

But Cyprus international Efstathios Aloneftis should have scored for Omonia after 62 minutes but his effort from six-yards went the wrong side of the post.

"I'm pleased with performance and the result but a little bit concerned we didn't convert our chances. We are in good shape for the second leg," said City manager Mark Hughes.

His opposite number Nedim Dudic agreed that City deserved the win.

"We played a very good team and we paid for our mistakes but we will give it our all for a good result in the return leg," said Dudic.

Although Manchester City enjoyed the lion's share of opportunities this was an open game high on entertainment value with the home side not overawed by their much vaunted opponents.

City's flair players started brightly with record signing Robinho and Wright-Phillips at the heart of their team's best attacking moves.

Robinho, all flicks and tricks, had a shot parried by keeper Antonis Georgallides after only two minutes.

The keeper was called into action soon after, this time having to tip a goal-bound Wright-phillips effort around the post.

The visitors created plenty of attacking opportunities as their hosts were also intent on going forward by deploying four strikers.

A great first half chance fell to Jo when he should have tapped into an open net, but missed, from a cross when Stephen Ireland stole the ball on the edge of the area after defender Charalambous dithered on the ball.

But Jo was unlucky not to open the scoring when his shot thumped against the upright after he outsmarted the defence on 41 minutes.

It was then the turn of the industrious Ireland to see his close-range effort bounce off the woodwork just before the interval.

When Jo again hit the goal frame early in the second half, City must have believed they were cursed not to score until a defensive error showed them the way.

The game was billed as a missmatch between Cypriot minnows Omonia and the newly cash-rich club from the Premier League but on the pitch the rich-poor divide was not always visible.

The island's most popular club was spurred on by deafening support from the 18,000 crowd at Nicosia's GSP stadium and substitute Clayton Cruz was denied

Date created : 2008-09-18

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