Fuller keeps Stoke fire burning
Man City 1
Published 14/02/2010 | 05:00
This was far from an FA Cup thriller even if the result was a surprise, although at least the three managers present all learned something useful.
Fabio Capello must have been pleased to see that Wayne Bridge is not only back to full fitness but playing quite well. Tony Pulis, with two players carried off by half-time, will now understand why teams often dilute their line-ups in this competition. The home side did just that and Roberto Mancini now knows that Manchester City without Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy are pretty much as ordinary as they ever were.
Stoke were City's opponents in Mancini's first game, and this time they gave a better account of themselves. They came back at City and claimed a deserved equaliser, although the manner of it suggested all is not well at the heart of Mancini's defence. Either that or City have never heard of Rory Delap. Shay Given and both his centre-halfs simply stood and watched as the ball arrowed in, leaving Ricardo Fuller free to score unchallenged.
Bridge made a couple of good runs down the wing in the opening minutes before sloppy Stoke defending allowed City to open the scoring. In fairness to Ryan Shawcross, when Shaun Wright-Phillips got goalside of him he was probably offside as well. But once Thomas Sorensen had stranded himself outside his area, the defender had another chance to clear off the line, only to miss his kick and nod the ball back, to leave the City winger an easy tap-in.