Birthday boy scores twice to help Manchester side overcome Sheffield Wednesday 2-1
Manchester: James Milner celebrated his 29th birthday by scoring twice as Manchester City fought back to beat Championship side Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 in the FA Cup third round yesterday.
James Milner celebrates after scoring Manchester City's first goal against Sheffield Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
The 2011 FA Cup winners required late heroics from the England international, who showed impressive reactions in the 91st minute to steer in Jesus Navas' cross from inside the six-yard area.
It was a goal that avoided a replay, and potential embarrassment, for City manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose side had thrashed the same opponents 7-0 in the League Cup as recently as four months ago.
Although Pellegrini left a number of first-team regulars on his bench, it was still a strong line-up that fell behind to a goal by Austrian Atdhe Nuhiu in the 14th minute.
The goal, on the counter-attack, was well worked, but exposed glaring deficiencies in the EPL champions' defence as Kieran Lee gathered the ball in his own half and sent Stevie May sprinting down the right wing.
He was able to pick out the towering Nuhiu and the Wednesday target man finished clinically with a first-time shot from 15 yards.
Substitutes turn saviors
Predictably, City's equaliser, in the 66th minute, featured two substitutes as David Silva steered Samir Nasri's pass into the path of Milner, who guided his shot past Chris Kirkland and into the far corner of the net.
Wednesday remained resolute and Navas, of all people, was required to make a superb covering tackle six yards from goal to stop Maghoma in his tracks after another impressive counter-attack and through ball from Jeremy Helan.
Toure curled an attempt just wide of the right-hand post as City re-asserted control and sought a face-saving winner, while Kirkland saved well from Silva before Milner settled the tie in added time.