Middlesbrough v Manchester City
Sunday May 11, 2008, 3pm
Riverside Stadium - Att: 27,613
Schwarzer, Young (McMahon 75), Arca (Johnson 62), Riggott, Pogatetz (c), Wheater, Boateng, Rochemback, Downing, Alves, Tuncay (Aliadiere 62).
unused subs: Turnbull (GK), Taylor.
Isaksson, Jihai, Dunne (c), Ball, Garrido, Corluka, Fernandes, Petrov (Elano 71), Ireland, Vassell (Hamann 62), Benjani (Castillo 13).
unused subs: Hart (GK), Caicedo.
Goals: 1-0 Downing (pen) 16, 2-0 Alves 37, 3-0 Downing 58, 4-0 Fernandes (og) 60, 5-0 Johnson 70, 6-0 Rochemback 80, 7-0 Aliadiere 85, 7-1 Elano 88, 8-1 Alves 90
Boro: Pogatetz 21, Young 26
City: Sun 54
City: Dunne 15
Pre Match news
Andreas Isaksson returns to the City line-up for the first time since December as Sven-Goran Eriksson makes three changes from last weekend's defeat at Anfield. With Javi Garrido playing at left back, Michael Ball takes up the centre half berth and Vedran Corluka slots into a defensive midfield role.
Live commentary available now on MCFCTV.com...
Boro kick off to cries of the now famous Pink Floyd refrain slightly adapted by the City faithful - complete with bananas - some even dressed as them and many others sporting yellow or Swedish shirts in support of the Manager.
On the pitch City create the first opening after three minutes as Ball found Vassell, who in turn gave Benjani the chance from 20-yards to swing his boot at it, unfortunately he could only pull his shot wide.
Benjani took a sore one moments later as a stray boot found his chest area and after a few extra minutes on the pitch the Zimbabwean couldn't carry on - replaced by Castillo with 13 minutes gone.
Two minutes later it got even worse for City as skipper Richard Dunne was sent off for allegedly clipping Tuncay inside the box. The Turk went over theatrically to say the least but it was a ridiculous decision by Phil Dowd...not for the first time in the referee's career...to dismiss Dunne.
Stewart Downing promptly dispatched the penalty - despite Isaksson guessing the right way - the power was enough to beat the Swede on his left hand side.
The Blues responded well to the setback and mustered two half chances with Castillo and Ireland heavily involved on both occasions.
But on 37 minutes Boro quelled City’s resistance and made it 2-0 as their Brazilian pair of Rochemback and Alves combined before the latter placed the ball beyond Isaksson with a cool left footed finish.
As we reached stoppage time at the end of the first half, Boro swept forward and would have made it 3-0 had it not been for a save of the season contender by Isaksson.
The ball came in from the left and after Alves missed his kick, it fell to Boateng just a yard from goal and the big Swede kept out the midfielder’s powerful shot with a fine save.
HALF TIME: Boro 2-0 City
City made the early running in the second half and six minutes in Castillo broke free and after being forced wide he crossed from the left to Darius Vassell who could only send his diving header wide.
As we approached the hour mark, Stewart Downing scored a great goal, crashing in a volley with the outside of his foot from about 15-yards out which gave Isaksson no chance.
The 10-men were stretched and just over a minute later it was 4-0. Tuncay set Alves clear and as Isaksson got a good hand on his shot it bounced towards goal and Fernandes got the last touch on the ball - own goal? It matter not - a miserable afternoon all around in amongst miserable settings!
Goal number five came on 70 minutes as substitute Adam Johnson decided to try his luck from distance and typical of the day thus far it was in as a wicked deflection off Michael Ball saw the ball fly up and over Isaksson.
Another 10 minutes past before we saw the goal of the day - Fabio Rochemback smashed in a free-kick from long range leaving Isaksson helpless once again for 6-0.
Not so long to wait for goal number seven as substitute Aliadiere was on hand to provide the finish. Then the start of the comeback as Elano scored a great goal as he fired high into the top corner from the edge of the box on 88 minutes.
Sadly the comeback was short lived as Afonso Alves rounded off the most bizarre game of the season by tapping home the ninth goal of the game and putting Boro 8-1 up.
The referee then brought the game to an end (surely before time) to allow everyone the chance to go and lie down and recover from this crazy game!
FULL TIME: Boro 8-1 City (unbelievable scenes)
mcfc.co.uk's Man of the Match: Andreas Isaksson. A rather bizarre choice given he conceded eight goals - but did everything he could to prevent it happening.