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Monday, 29 September 2008

Squarefootball Diary; Wednesday September 24 2008

Money can't buy me love, nor can it buy me a passage into the fourth round of the Carling Cup.  Even if I draw Brighton and Hove Albion.  That's the harsh lesson learned by Manchester City tonight as they crash out of said competition to the less than celebrated Seagulls.

Mark Hughes' side are a minute from victory after Gelson Fernandes' 64th minute goal, only to be dragged kicking and screaming into extra time by Glenn Murray's equaliser.  Joe Anyinsah puts the south coast side ahead in the extra period, but when Stephen Ireland levels the scores order looks to have been restored.  Not so, as Michael Ball makes a porridge of his 12-yarder allowing Matthew Richards to secure Brighton's 4-3 shoot-out win;

"There is a lot of focus on us at the moment but I don't know if I'm more embarrassed than angry." says an embarrassed and angry Hughes;

"I'm not going to crow about beating the so-called richest team in the world because as a player and a manager I've been on the wrong end of these type of results." says Albion manager Micky Adams.

On the subject of the rich, the rather more frugal Queens Park Rangers hit the headlines with a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park.  Damien Stewart makes the decisive contribution on 58 minutes, much to the annoyance of Martin O'Neill;

"Not to be in the hat for the next round is really frustrating." he sniffs, while Rangers manager Iain Dowie offers scintillating insight into his managerial philosophy;

"I have a big sheet in the dressing room saying that we have to deal with set-pieces." he announces.  So there.

The Desperation Derby sees Newcastle United dumped out by Tottenham Hotspur at St.James' Park.  Newcastle's smallest home crowd in 16 years might wonder what else they could have been doing on a night when goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jamie O'Hara help seal a 2-1 win.  At least the Magpies have Michael Owen, whose late goal is not enough to spare them on this occasion;

"I believe we deserved to win tonight. In the first half, everything was equal and the two teams were playing at more or less the same level." claims Spurs boss Juande Ramos, while Newcastle caretaker boss Chris Hughton has a more simple explanation;

"We had two very good chances early in the second half and didn't take them, and the two Spurs got, they were able to put away with good quality."

More all-Premier League fare on offer at Ewood Park where Blackburn Rovers edge out Everton by the only goal.  That comes from Martin Olsson in the 10th minute and leaves Rovers boss Paul Ince praising his ageing stars;

"The two old men (Robbie Fowler and Tuguy) were different class.   I played him (Fowler)  in a slightly deeper role and he did ever so well. He never lost a ball and had a couple of chances."

Portsmouth just can't stop leaking goals, following up the six they shipped at Manchester City on Sunday (September 21) with four more at home to Chelsea tonight.  Frank Lampard scores twice, while Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou complete the rout;

"We didn't want to get smashed up." points out Harry, just in case you were wondering about his side's intentions;

"This is what I want from my team and it is what they did today. " chirps Phil Scolari.

In the night's remaining tie Wigan Athletic march into Portman Road and emerge with a 4-1 thrashing of Ipswich Town under their belts.

By Stephen Orford

29 September 2008    


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