CITY STUN CHELSEA
Italian star Benito Carbone turned on
the style as Bradford rocked Chelsea with a 2-0 win
at Valley Parade in possibly City's best ever performance.
new signing was instrumental in his team's demolition
of Gianluca Vialli's Premiership contenders and also
capped his performance with a blistering 20-yard effort
past Ed De Goey in the Chelsea goal.
But that's not to say that the rest of the Bradford
team were simply bystanders as this was without doubt
the best display in Claret and Amber seen at Valley
Parade for years.
The first 20 minutes were rocky as the visitors came
at City with their impressive firepower. Gianfranco
Zola was as busy as ever, twisting and turning, and
eventually putting in a pinpoint cross for Gustavo Poyet
in only the 5th minute. The Uruguayan should have done
better with his header however as he left Atherton behind
only to put the chance wide of the far post.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink then managed to find Zola at
the back post, only for the Italian to volley spectacularly
over the bar, and Poyet narrowly missed Hasselbaink's
cross-shot before City turned the game around in the
excellent six-man move culminated in Stuart McCall playing
the ball left for Lee Sharpe to chip the ball to the
far post. Dean Windass peeled away from World Cup and
European Championship winner Marcel Desailly to nod
the ball back across De Goey and into the far corner
of the net to give City the lead.
The goal may have come slightly against the run of play
but it was City who then looked like they would take
the three points as they stroked the ball around superbly
and created several openings.
Indeed, they nearly had a second minutes later as Emerson
Thome and De Goey conspired to nearly score an own goal.
Fortunately for the Blues, the ball narrowly rolled
wide from Thome's back header before Carbone could latch
on to the mistake.
The second half had a familiar ring to it as City again
played the better football but were perhaps indebted
to Matt Clarke in goal for three fine saves. The first
from substitute Tore Andre Flo, on for an unimpressed
at being replaced Hasselbaink, in the 63rd minute ricocheted
back off the shot-stopper's legs and into safety.
The next effort, a Gianfranco Zola blast from the edge
of the area, was blocked as Clarke went to ground and
the City keeper then denied a further chance. However,
City never really looked as though they would lose this
game and they took the lead to two goals in the 74th
Benito Carbone, impressive all night with his endless
running, enthusiasm and ability to hold up play and
bring in others so easily, picked up the ball as Dean
Windass was gifted it by Christian Panucci's slack pass.
The little Italian had only one thing on his mind as
he was forced wide by Desailly before striking the ball
towards the near post.
De Goey, obviously surprised and expecting a cross had
head off in the other direction. It was too late for
him as the shot swerved away and he could only help
palm it into his own net.
The ground erupted to the chants of "Carbone, Carbone!"
as the fans' new idol milked the moment along with the
rest of the team.
All that was left to do for City was consolidate possession
and play out time. This they did admirably and even
Chelsea had to be impressed at the way they stroked
the ball around, retaining the ball easily, and working
hard when not in full control.
It was a magnificent victory, and one which rightly
earned the Scottish Mutual Performance of the Week Award.
If City can keep this up, they will no doubt keep the
team up as well. Even Rodney Marsh now thinks so.
Stuart McCall (c)
Ed De Goey
Roberto Di Matteo
Dennis Wise (c)
J F Hasselbaink
Tore Andre Flo
Carbone - 1
Windass - 1