Europa League verdict: Manchester City 2 FC Timisoara 0 (agg 3-0)

City qualified for the Europa League group stages with goals from Shaun Wright-Phillips and Dedryck Boyata in a game so comfortable it often resembled a pre-season friendly. The Romanians’ packed defence and lack of ambition made it a game of patience for City before the seemingly inevitable breakthrough arrived.

City’s best performers were a central quartet of Kompany, Boyata, de Jong and Vieira who exerted total control over procedings. In our previous European campaign under Mark Hughes, we made heavy weather of the early rounds by failing to dominate teams. There was none of that here.

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Player ratings: Manchester City v FC Timisoara

Hart – With only a couple of routine saves to make, there’s only his distribution to rate: short range good, long kicks need to find their targets better. 6

Richards – Once again solid in defence, this was another chance to focus on attacking. Took up decent positions but the delivery was mixed. Looked in need of a trick to go past an opponent. 6

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Europa League preview: Manchester City v FC Timisoara (1-0)

And a big Eastlands welcome to… Jo! Yes the signs are that are Brazilian hitman will take another step in his Lazarus like comeback. Yesterday saw Roberto Mancini singing his praises, recalling the goals Jo scored to against the Italian’s Inter side in the Champions League for CSKA Moscow.

City produced a solid display in Romania before cutting loose in the closing part of the game to clinch a win thanks to Mario Balotelli’s debut goal.

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Europa League verdict: FC Timisoara v Manchester City

City opened their Europa League campaign with a victory in Romania thanks to super Mario playing the super-sub role. Roberto Mancini demonstrated his Italian heritage with a cautious opening giving way to an attacking finale that could have seen the blues score more.

With uncertainty over Shay Given’s future, Joe Hart started in goal and kept the Irishman from being cup-tied. Zabaleta replaced Micah at right-back and it will be interesting to see which of them starts against Liverpool. Was this rotation or was Micah dropped after his struggles against Gareth Bale? Only Mancini knows.

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