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Groclin extend dream debut

Published: Thursday 27 November 2003, 19.34CET
Groclin Grodzisk Wielkopolski 0-0 Manchester City FC (agg: 1-1, Groclin win on away goals) Polish side advance.
Published: Thursday 27 November 2003, 19.34CET

Groclin extend dream debut

Groclin Grodzisk Wielkopolski 0-0 Manchester City FC (agg: 1-1, Groclin win on away goals) Polish side advance.

The dream European debut of Groclin Grodzisk Wielkopolski continued as they held Manchester City FC to a 0-0 draw in Poland to progress on away goals.

New scalp
Groclin were hoping to add City to their list of scalps on their UEFA Cup bow that that already included FK Atlantas and Hertha BSC Berlin, and did just that as they denied their visitors sight of goal - and even went close several times themselves.

Unchanged Groclin
The home side played the same starting lineup that began the 1-1 draw in Manchester three weeks ago, while City made two changes. Claudio Reyna has been ill, so dropped to the bench and Robbie Fowler partnered Nicolas Anelka up front, while Michael Tarnat's hamstring strain meant Sylvain Distin moved to left-back, David Sommeil played in the centre of defence and Trevor Sinclair came into midfield.

Mila effort
Both sides were looking most creative on the wings, Sebastian Mila for Groclin and City's Shaun Wright-Phillips the key men. On three minutes an angled Mila effort forced David Seaman, who had passed a late fitness test, to save, while moments later Wright-Phillips crossed for Steve McManaman to shoot over.

Goalline clearances
Just before the half-hour, Grzegorz Rasiak set Andzej Niedzielan away inside the City half, but he could not shake off Jihai Sun, who blocked his shot. Mila's resultant corner was then headed on goal by Tomasz Wieszczycki, but cleared off the line by the defending Fowler. Within two minutes, Niedzielan broke through again and rounded Seaman, but his angled shot was stopped at a stretch by Richard Dunne.

City frustrated
Marcin Zajac's half-volley was then deflected wide, but gradually City relieved the pressure and saw out the half comfortably. However, they knew they had to score after the break to stay in the competition, but early in the second period found themselves frustrated by Groclin's strong midfield. Indeed, the chances were at the other end as Rasiak and Mila shot over.

Home delight
On 68 minutes City did have a chance but Wright-Phillips' cross was headed wide by Fowler, and soon after Anelka was denied by towering goalkeeper Mariusz Liberda. Anelka and Fowler then gave way to Jon Macken and Paulo Wanchope as City revamped their attack, but time started to tick away and although they forced some late chances, Groclin held on to the delight of their fans as fireworks were set off over the Groclin Dyskobolia stadium.

Coach 'so happy'
As the Groclin fans partied, coach Dusan Radolský said: I am so happy I do not know what to say at the moment. It was the deserved result after a tough battle, a great result."

Keegan disappointed
City manager Kevin Keegan said: "Obviously I am very disappointed. But we lost the tie in the first 20 minutes at home when we could not take advantage of our chances. I would like to congratulate Groclin for the spirit they have shown and I will watch their progress with interest."

Last updated: 28/11/03 9.47CET