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Boss pays tribute to goal hero Bellamy

Craig Bellamy celebration 0809

Craig Bellamy celebration 0809

Mark Hughes is delighted with City's progress into the last 16 of the UEFA Cup and paid tribute to Craig Bellamy.

The striker's two goals in the second half against FC Copenhagen propelled the Blues into a meeting with more Danish opposition in the shape of Aalborg, but news emerged after the game that a member of Craig's family had died during the week, and speaking afterwards the Manager said:

"Craig was excellent again, but he showed great courage and strength to play tonight. He has lost a close family member, so to put in a performance like that was a measure of what an understanding guy he is and what a good professional he is.

 

It was touch and go whether he would play, but he wanted to. We are all thinking of him because it has been difficult for him.

Mark Hughes

 

Reflecting on the game, Hughes said that a lifting of the tempo after the break was vital in securing the win.

"It was a strange night in lots of ways because we had the benefit of the away goals, but we knew that if we conceded they would go through. It was difficult to know which way to go with it, the tempo at the start was not at the level we wanted so we talked about that at half time.

"We created a lot of clear-cut chances, and another night we would have won even more comprehensively. But, we are delighted to be through, that was the order of the day. A lot of good teams have gone out of the competition, but we are pleased to still be in the hat so let's see how far we can go."

Bellamy's partnership with Robinho played a big part in the second goal and could have led to a third just before the end, a perfect riposte to press conjecture over the pair.

Hughes added, "They look like they are getting on fine to me! People may think differently, but they were excellent. As the game opened up they recognised what needed to be done, and they were at the heart of most of the chances we created.

"We are delighted to be through, and we have Aalborg to come. They have had two good results against Deportivo, they will not be easy opposition but maybe we are thinking that we can go even further now."

But the final word must go to Craig Bellamy, who spoke of his sorrow at the loss of his cousin.

"I lost my cousin, one of my closest friends, yesterday morning and it has been a tough couple of days for me. It has been very hard for his and my family, and I dedicate my goals tonight to him."

Match Report

City v FC Copenhagen 26-02-2009

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