Even as three English teams made it to the semifinals of the Champions League,their EPL rivals Manchester City were knocked out of the Uefa Cup. Hamburg eliminated Manchester City to reach the UEFA Cup semifinals,surviving a 2-1 loss in England to advance 4-3 on aggregate. Hamburg held a 3-1 lead after the first leg in Germany,and Paolo Guerrero extended the advantage by scoring after 12 minutes. But Elano responded four minutes later from the penalty spot and Felipe Caicedo scored City’s second in the 50th minute. Elano had a free kick hit the woodwork in each half,as City couldn’t score the third goal needed to force the match into extra time. “It’s unbelievable,to get to the semifinals is
fantastic,” Hamburg coach Martin Jol said. “I think we were the better team at home,and the first half (tonight) we were probably the better team. The penalty was also harsh but the crowd was fantastic and they’ve got some good players.”
City was reduced to 10 men in the 75th when defender Richard Dunne was shown a second yellow card for hauling down Ivica Olic. Despite becoming one of the world’s richest clubs after being bought up by an Abu Dhabi investment group last September,the loss means City will end the season without a title and should make it tougher for the club to attract big-name players in the off season. City looks likely to miss out on European football next season,sitting in 11th place in the Premier League.
“We had a lot of chances and we didn’t take them,we should have been more clinical,” midfielder Stephen Ireland said. “I think Caicedo had a few clear-cut chances and didn’t finish them,the same with Micah Richards. “We have to have that spirit every week. We have to pick ourselves up. We’ve got to get seventh (in the league) if we can and not let this destroy our season.” Hamburg didn’t look content with its first-leg advantage,starting aggressively and extending its advantage in the 12th when Guerrero fired a low shot past Shay Given. Guerrero’s opening was created when Dunne failed to clear Jonathan Pitroipa’s low cross. The home side was handed a lifeline in the 16th when Piotr Trochowski was adjudged to have handled Elano’s shot. The Brazil forward calmly converted the penalty kick. Trochowski kept putting City under pressure,with a powerful strike parried by Given and a header sent into the arms of the Ireland goalkeeper. City almost took the lead when Elano’s hard free kick from 25 yards two minutes before halftime beat Frank Rost but bounced off the crossbar.
Caicedo did find the target five minutes into the second half to make it 2-1 after Ireland fed the Ecuador forward to score his third goal in the competition this season. Elano was frustrated again in the 53rd when another free
kick rattled the post. Caicedo then shot over from close range after a corner from Elano.