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Bellamy grief provides City inspiration

sports Updated: Feb 27, 2009 09:48 IST

AFP
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Craig Bellamy has dedicated the goals that sent Manchester City into the last 16 of the UEFA Cup to the memory of a much-loved cousin who died on the eve of the club's second round, second leg clash with FC Copenhagen.

The Wales striker struck twice in the space of seven second-half minutes to secure a 2-1 win over the Danish champions and send City into a clash with another Danish side, Aalborg, for a place in the quarter-finals.

With AC Milan and English rivals Aston Villa and Tottenham all out of the competition, City now look to be serious contenders for their first silverware since the club was bought by the cash-rich Abu Dhabi United Group.

Bellamy revealed after the match that his cousin, whom he described as one of his closest friends, had died on Wednesday morning.

"It was a hard day for me, for my family and his family. I'll miss him dearly and I'd like to dedicate this game to him and the goals as well," Bellamy said.

The striker's goals put the tie beyond Copenhagen's reach after a 2-2 draw in the first leg with Martin Vingaard's stoppage-time strike offering no more than consolation for the visitors, one of the teams who came into the competition after being eliminated from the Champions League.

"We got the job done," Bellamy added. "It was difficult at times because with the away goals (rule) you don't want to push too many forward.

"In the second half we asserted ourselves more and got the goals. Myself, Shaun (Wright-Phillips) and Robbie (Robinho) are attacking players and I think it paid dividends.

"They had to come out more in the second half and it opened up."

City manager Mark Hughes was delighted with the display.

"We created a lot of chances and at one point you think you're not going to get the one goal which would free us to play better," said Woods.

"But we got it in the end and it was a decent performance."

Hughes went on to suggest that Thursday night's performance was a sign that City's owners might be seeing a signficant return on their investment sooner rather than later.

"We keep trying to tell people we are very early in our progression but some people don't want to hear that," Hughes added. "Where we are at the moment is right on track.

"We're delighted to have progressed in the competition. A lot of big teams have gone out so let's see how far we can go."