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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hull 2-2 Manchester City

Geovanni equalised for the Tigers as Hull and Manchester City ended three-game losing runs in the league.

Daniel Cousin put Hull in front, capitalising on Tal Ben-Haim's awful back-pass to flick the ball past Joe Hart, who later went off injured.

Stephen Ireland levelled after a heavy touch from Kamil Zayatte gifted him an open goal and he then put his side ahead with a brilliant 18-yard shot.

But Geovanni equalised against his former club with a deflected free-kick.

The result might not fully satisfy either manager but it was a fair result after an entertaining contest in which some awful defensive errors added to the drama.

Hull lost at home to Bolton last weekend and needed a morale-boosting result ahead of successive away matches at Portsmouth and Stoke.

But Manchester City boss Mark Hughes - with a more gifted squad at his disposal - was arguably under greater pressure to win.

He had travelled to Abu Dhabi during the week for a meeting with owner Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan that prompted rumours about the future of the manager.

Hughes surprisingly gave Robinho the skipper's armband in the absence of suspended Richard Dunne - and he might have scored in the opening minutes with a free-kick but his effort was both weak and wide.

Hull showed the greater endeavour and desire in the opening stages, but their their opening goal was very much a result of individual error rather than attacking brilliance.

There was little immediate danger when Micah Richards squared the ball across the penalty area to Ben-Haim despite Hull's forwards closing down the space quickly.

But the Israel international scuffed his back-pass and Cousin had the presence of mind to nip in and deftly stab the ball past the advancing Hart.

To make matters worse, Hart was injured in the incident and was replaced by Kasper Schmeichel for his first Premier League appearance since September 2007.

Plenty of committed tackles followed and neither side could be accused of lacking effort, but Manchester City's equaliser was as shambolic as Cousin's opener.

Zayatte should have belted the ball clear after breaking up an attack. Instead, he chose to run it across his own penalty area and lost control with a heavy touch, allowing Ireland to slip the ball into an empty net.

By contrast, Ireland's second goal on the stroke of half-time was all about a sublime piece of individual skill.

Picked out by a superb low cutback from defender Javier Garrido, the midfielder controlled the ball with his first touch and then bent it inside the post from 18 yards.

Geovanni showed true Brazilian flair with an aerial volley that flew narrowly over the crossbar but he pulled Hull level on the hour mark when his free-kick found the net after a deflection off Vincent Kompany.

Manchester City were aggrieved at referee Phil Dowd's decision to penalise Richards for a foul and their sense of injustice was almost compounded by a flying Cousin header, but an alert Schmeichel made the save.

The visitors then City had a good opportunity to regain the lead after a cross-cum-shot fell invitingly to Darius Vassell, but the former England somehow striker missed the ball.

Hull might have had their third when Geovanni had three attempts at a free-kick, with two Manchester City players booked for encroaching from the wall.

In the end his third effort struck the wall before Vassell wasted the final chance of the match with a shot which was too close to Myhill.

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