Hargreaves scores in City win

Owen Hargreaves scored on his Manchester City debut as Birmingham's Carling Cup defence ended with a 2-0 defeat in round three at Eastlands.

Last Updated: 21/09/11 at 22:11

Hargreaves: Man of the match on debut

Hargreaves: Man of the match on debut

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Hargreaves drove home a superb 25-yard shot after 18 minutes and was deservedly named man of the match.

Mario Balotelli added a second before the break to secure City's passage into the last 16 and end the holders' interest in the competition.

When Hargreaves released a video on YouTube during the summer of him being put through his paces tied to a treadmill, it seemed like the last act of a desperate man attempting to revive his career.

It turned out to be a masterstroke.

Interest was generated, with West Brom eager to seal a deal, and that in turn led to Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini making his move as the transfer deadline approached, with City clearly not in a position to secure all the midfield targets they were after.

Mancini did not expect anything quickly - and has not even named Hargreaves in his Champions League squad.

However, after virtually three years on the sidelines, punctuated by a couple of very brief appearances, totalling only six minutes of actual playing time, the 30-year-old is clearly a man in a hurry.

First, he got himself ready for action within three weeks. Then, 18 minutes into his debut, he scored.

It was some goal too, seizing on a loose ball as Carlos Tevez and Balotelli had their route into the penalty area blocked and letting fly from 25 yards.

The shot went like an arrow past Birmingham goalkeeper Colin Doyle and into the top corner.

City's fans erupted, bellowing "Fergie, sign him up", just as they did when Tevez crossed the great divide two years ago.

That was a far more acrimonious move. Hargreaves' exit was the only plausible ending after spending so little time on the pitch.

Indeed, the goal was his first since April 2008, one of only two Hargreaves scored in 39 appearances for the Red Devils.

Although it was anticipated Hargreaves would be replaced at the break, the former England man re-appeared and lasted for another 12 minutes before departing to a standing ovation.

The good news is a previously stellar career is on the move again and Hargreaves will not need to get back to his peak for England manager Fabio Capello to take an interest given the dearth of top-quality defensive midfield men in the Premier League.

Balotelli could never be described as a forgotten man.

The Italian has tended to be overlooked though, as Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero went on their early-season scoring blitz.

With Tevez dropping deep, Balotelli was the focal point of City's attack and when Aleksandar Kolarov crossed from the left seven minutes before the interval, the former Inter Milan man neatly swept home his first goal of the season.

It was a good night all round for City as Kolo Toure also made his comeback after serving a six-month ban for a failed drugs test.

Toure made his mark too, being perfectly placed to clear off the line after Romanian goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon had dropped Jean Beausejour's free-kick, offering Curtis Davies the chance to send an overhead kick towards City's otherwise empty goal.

It was Birmingham's only attack in the first half of their first game in this competition since they stunned Arsenal in last season's final.

What was a joyous Wembley day turned out to be the moment Birmingham's season began to unravel, a process that became so dramatic it ended in relegation to the Championship.

Only Keith Fahey remained from that starting line-up and as manager Chris Hughton made seven changes to the side hammered at Southampton, he clearly feels this is one competition too many in a season where the Blues are also scrapping it out in Europe.

Birmingham were better after the break, without creating anything like the opportunity Toure had turned away.

Doyle denied Tevez and Toure near the end but a Manchester City line-up containing Nedum Onuoha - making his first appearance since chief executive Garry Cook resigned over sarcastic comments about his mother - and Wayne Bridge coasted home.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Sunday, 01 March 2015
Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham Report
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Sheff Utd 2-2 Tottenham Report
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool Report
Wednesday, 21 January 2015
Tottenham 1-0 Sheff Utd Report
Tuesday, 20 January 2015
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea Report
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
B'mouth 1-3 Liverpool  
Tottenham 4-0 Newcastle Report
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Derby 1-3 Chelsea Report
Sheff Utd 1-0 So'ton Report
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
Man City 0-2 Newcastle Report

Footer 365

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was sent letter from South African FA

Sky Sports News HQ has a copy of a letter sent from the South African FA to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.

Real Madrid are confident of landing David de Gea

Real Madrid are growing increasingly confident of signing Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

Utd target Lloris denies release clause

Tottenham's Hugo Lloris has confirmed that there is no release clause in his contract amid rumours linking the goalkeeper with a move to Manchester United and PSG.

Mail Box

Calling Carlo For Liverpool... Please

One Liverpool Mailer wants a manager who isn't starstruck by the job. Plus why Milner has now become overrated, play-offs for the title, Ronaldinho and democracy..

James Milner: Jose's Perfect Player?

Probably. But presumably he would not swap one bench for another. We have mails on over-hyped players, Arsenal enthusiasm, UEFA, FIFA and naked dudes...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company