Football

Hughes welcomes rub of the green

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Manchester City boss Mark Hughes admitted his side got lucky after almost blowing their UEFA Cup dream in Denmark on Thursday night.

City had seemed well on course for a place in the quarter-finals until two late Aalborg goals in their last-16 tie left them needing penalty heroics from Shay Given to scrape through.

"Maybe lady luck is smiling on us and maybe that is a good sign, but we will have to wait and see," said Hughes. "We know we can play better than we did here, we have proved that in Europe and in the league."

City protected their 2-0 lead from last week's first leg for 85 minutes on a bitterly cold night only to suddenly capitulate late on.

After playing cautiously for most of the game, the Danes upped the tempo and were rewarded as former Sheffield United forward Luton Shelton struck.

Aalborg maintained the pressure at their intimate Energi Nord Arena and forced extra time with a Michael Jakobsen penalty after Ched Evans handled.

City tired in the additional 30 minutes but managed to prevent further damage and went through 4-3 on spot-kicks after Given saved from Thomas Augustinussen and Shelton. The win kept alive City's hopes of winning a first major piece of silverware since 1976.

"You scratch your head and wonder how that situation has developed but if teams put balls in good areas, on occasion things will drop and go their way," he added. "At the end of the day we are through to the next round and that is what we were trying to achieve.

"We would have preferred a more comfortable passage but we have been able to get where we wanted to get."

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Topics:
Europa League
European News
Football
Manchester City
Luton Shelton
Mark Hughes
Premier League
Shay Given
Sheffield United
Mark Hughes
Ched Evans

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