Piotr Trochowski set up two goals and scored a penalty as Hamburger SV earned a telling 3-1 advantage against Manchester City FC in their UEFA Cup last-eight tie, though they had to come from behind after Stephen Ireland scored inside 35 seconds.
Having passed a late fitness test Ireland gave City a dream start, but the visitors spent much of the remaining 89 minutes on the defensive, driven back by wave after wave of Hamburg attacks. Joris Mathijsen swiftly restored parity and it was the Dutch defender's acrobatic effort just after the hour that drew a handball from Micah Richards in the area. Trochowski converted the resulting spot-kick and then delivered the cross from which substitute José Paolo Guerrero sealed the win with eleven minutes remaining, leaving City with just one victory in 20 away games. Mark Hughes's team are a different proposition at home but have left themselves plenty to do in next Thursday's return.
Hughes had called this "the standout tie of the quarter-finals" and it lived up to that billing in an explosive opening period. Ireland lit the fuse. With the referee's whistle for kick-off still echoing around the sold-out arena the City No7 found Robinho with a fine crossfield ball. The Brazilian drifted in from the left before laying the ball off to Ireland who, having made up all of 50 metres unchecked, fired, side-footed, inside the post.
The home fans fell silent but swiftly rediscovered their voice as David Jarolím and then Ivica Olić tested Shay Given, and the latter should perhaps have done better with his close-range header. Moments later the same criticism could have been applied to Michael Gravgaard who, having got the ball from under his feet following a corner, gave the City goalkeeper a sniff with his shot – that was all the Republic of Ireland No1 needed, brilliantly pushing the ball around the upright. He had no chance from the resulting set-piece, however, as Mathijsen met Trochowski's ninth-minute corner with a fine glancing header.
The tempo had to subside, but did so only slightly. The scorer when the sides met in pre-season, Jonathan Pitroipa looped a header against the bar while Craig Bellamy tested Frank Rost at the other end, though gradually the defences, so porous early on, gained cohesion. Not completely, however, and the fissure in the City back line briefly opened again before half-time, only for Trochowski to fire his effort straight at Given. The German international made no such mistake from the penalty spot on 63 minutes, firing in an unstoppable effort.
HSV would have been ahead moments earlier had Shaun Wright-Phillips not been on hand to emphatically clear off his own line after Javier Garrido, a half-time replacement for the injured Wayne Bridge, deflected the ball goalwards following a corner. How Hughes would have wished to see Wright-Phillips make such a telling contribution at the other end, but instead it was Guerrero who rounded off the scoring.