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Skipper aims to claim his spot prize

Micah Richards and Richard Dunne 0809

Micah Richards and Richard Dunne 0809

Richard Dunne is relishing the UEFA Cup showdown with Bundesliga high-fliers Hamburg, secure in the knowledge that however dramatic it is, there can be no repeat in this first leg of the high anxiety of City's last nailbiting tie.

When the battle with Aalborg for a quarter-final place went the full distance to a nerve-shredding penalty shoot-out, Captain Courageous stepped up to slam in a rare spot kick to help topple the never-say-die Danes.

His sure shot from City's fourth kick followed three Blues conversions and preceded Shay Given's second penalty save and a huge celebration - but for skipper Dunne, it was also the exorcism of a haunting night.

Dunney was one of the Blues' failed penalty-takers in the dismal League Cup defeat at Doncaster Rovers in September 2005 - and the memory of that last, awful spot kick still haunted him as he faced the Danish keeper.

"I remember it as a good save," he protested with a smile. "But that was the last one and I missed so, yeah, I was pretty nervous. Robi was off the pitch, Stevie Ireland had an injured ankle, so the manager asked if I fancied taking one.

"I just stood there and thought 'lash it and hope that it goes in'. It would probably have summed up my season if I'd missed that one as well, but fortunately it went in and Shay saved their next one for us.

"That's two penalty shoot-outs in Denmark and it's quite enough. It was such a relief, and we have to be grateful to Shay after we seemed to deflate near the end of normal time. Maybe it's true our name is on the cup.

"We've come through 14 games and we've got a realistic chance of winning it. But we need to believe that we can. We need to go to big clubs like Hamburg and come away knowing that it's in our own hands.

"On our day we can beat anyone, and we have to go in with that attitude. Winning at Schalke was our best performance, and that game will be of benefit to us. If we can play like that we'll be more of a match for Hamburg.

"We've probably got the toughest draw we could have had, but you want to play the big sides in the big stadiums. The German fans will make it a big night - even at Schalke when we were beating them comfortably, the crowd were still making a lot of noise.

"They weren't shouting particularly nice things at their players that night, but the German fans have a real passion about their football, and the German clubs are always stronger towards the end of a tournament."

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Craig Bellamy Man City vs Newcastle 0809

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