Manchester City 1 Birmingham City 0

Last updated : 20 October 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Manchester City need not have worried about Elano being jet-lagged as the Brazilian produced another piece of magic in the Premier League victory against Birmingham City.

Elano had dashed back from South America, where he had played in a World Cup qualifier against Ecuador late on Wednesday night, to score another important goal for the home side.

Elano's strike, his fourth in three games, helped his side record their sixth successive home league victory, to maintain their splendid start to the season.

While the Citizens lacked the flair of recent weeks, they showed their battling qualities to grind out an important win against the well-organised and battling Birmingham side.

City had to be patient in a low-key opening as Birmingham, playing with a five-man midfield, set out to frustrate a City side which had scored nine goals in its last five league matches.

They eventually made the breakthrough in the 37th minute in controversial circumstances.

Birmingham were incensed when City's Michael Johnson escaped unpunished following a clear foul on Fabrice Muamba, as the home side immediately broke away to score as Elano fired home from the edge of the penalty area, with a well-directed shot.

Manager Steve Bruce, his coaching staff and players were furious, remonstrating with the referee's assistant, who was only yards away from the initial incident, but who failed to raise his flag.

Birmingham almost struck back immediately when Olivier Kapo made a marvellous weaving run through the City defence, only to be denied by a super stop from keeper Joe Hart.

The second half had a lacklustre start with chances created by either side few and far between, though Elano had a great opportunity to seal victory with 20 minutes remaining, but shot just wide of an upright.

It looked as though it may prove a costly miss as Birmingham produced a battling fight-back in the latter stages and were desperately unlucky not to draw level.

After a neat build-up down the left, Muamba had a near-post shot from close-range which struck keeper Hart, who knew nothing about the save he had made.

Moments later, there was another almighty let-off for City when Hart dropped a cross and Rafael Schmitz saw his lob towards an empty goal headed off the line by Micah Richards as City lived dangerously in the closing stages.