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Man City’s XI from 8-1 defeat to Middlesbrough looks unrecognisable now

Even now it is a scoreline that makes you rub your eyes in disbelief.

It was May 11, 2008, the final day of the 2007/08 season, and Manchester City – who finished ninth – were walloped 8-1 by a Middlesbrough side who would end up 13th in the table.

It was a resounding victory for a future England manager, Gareth Southgate, over a former one in Sven-Goran Eriksson, whose solitary Premier League season as City boss ended with a decidedly average record of won 15, drew 10 and lost 13. With 53 goals conceded, City had the worst defensive record in the top half.

Eight of those goals were shipped on an afternoon when Richard Dunne was sent off, Afonso Alves hit a hat-trick, Fabio Rochemback scored a screamer and Stewart Downing showed the type of form that made him look a world-beater on his day.

This was his day.

Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side were hammered on Teesside

City, meanwhile, were just over a year away from their takeover that would rock football, and lead to the sustained success they’ve achieved since.

And their XI back then looks very different to Pep Guardiola’s superstars.

Andreas Isaksson

The unfortunate goalkeeper forever associated with this most dreadful of afternoons, Isaksson had been the No.2 to Joe Hart for much of the season.

This game came at the very end of his second and final campaign with City, as – with Hart now establishing himself at the club and Shay Given to come the following season – the Swede moved on to PSV Eindhoven and then Turkish club Kasimpasa, later retiring back in Sweden with Djurgardens where he won the last of his 133 Swedish caps.

Sun Jihai

Something of a trailblazer for Chinese footballers in England, Sun had been at City for six years before bowing out in this not-so-grand manner.

He went on to have a season at Sheffield United before returning to Asia with Chengdu Blades (United’s satellite club), Guizhou Renhe, Chongqing Lifan and finally Beijing Renhe.

Vedran Corluka

The Croatian was in his only season with City having signed from Dinamo Zagreb the previous summer, and he’d go on to have four years at Tottenham having proven himself as a steady Premier League performer.

Now 35, he may have retired from international football after the 2018 World Cup, but he’s still going strong with Lokomotiv Moscow.

Stewart Downing fires home Boro's opener from the spot
Stewart Downing fires home Boro’s opener from the spot

Richard Dunne

The Irishman’s red card set the tone for City’s dreadful day, with his 15th minute dismissal leading to carnage at the back.

This was the end of Dunne’s eighth season of his 10 at City, where he established himself as a fan favourite after helping the club up from the old Division 1 in 2002.

Later spells at Aston Villa and QPR followed before a 2015 retirement.

Michael Ball

Once highly-regarded as one of the best left-backs in England, Ball had left boyhood club Everton for a move to Rangers in 2001 when that was still seen as a step up.

The once-capped England international also played for PSV Eindhoven before a January 2007 move to City, where he played for two-and-a-half seasons but suffered damaging injuries.

Javier Garrido

This was the end of the Spaniard’s first season in English football after his move from Real Sociedad, and he’d go on to have two more years at City before the improvements instilled by the takeover caught up with him somewhat.

He joined Lazio in 2010 and later Norwich City, before fading out of the game via spells in the Spanish lower tiers and Cyprus.

The City side looks completely unrecognisable now
The City side looks completely unrecognisable now

Stephen Ireland

The exciting Irish midfielder was City’s great hope at the time, and as he completed his 33rd Premier League game of the season at the Riverside Stadium there was great excitement around the future of a player who was still just 21.

He’d go on to score 13 goals in all competitions the following season, but after the takeover and the arrival of Roberto Mancini Ireland somewhat lost his way.

A move to Aston Villa, a brief loan to Newcastle and a longer switch to Stoke failed to build on his clear potential, and with injuries hitting him badly his career suffered greatly.

Gelson Fernandes

This was the end of the Swiss midfielder’s first season in English football and he had somewhat caught the eye, impressing again at the start of his second campaign before falling from favour under Mark Hughes.

He joined French side Saint-Etienne, and after one season there he memorably scored the winner for his country in a 2010 World Cup group stage match against eventual winners Spain, before a series of loans – including one to Leicester – took him around Europe and eventually to Eintracht Frankfurt, with whom he retired last year.

Rochemback blasted home a free-kick for Boro's sixth
Rochemback blasted home a free-kick for Boro’s sixth

Martin Petrov (replaced by Elano, 71 mins)

One of the more exciting players for the pre-takeover City, this was the end of Bulgarian winger Petrov’s first season for the club following his arrival from Atletico Madrid.

After three campaigns he’d end up getting squeezed out before joining Bolton, with whom he stayed as they were relegated to the Championship.

Petrov’s replacement at Boro, the silky Brazilian Elano, remains a name celebrated by City fans.

He scored a fine consolation goal here, showcasing his fondness for the spectacular, and he shone at the club for two seasons before a 2009 switch to Galatasaray.

Benjani (replaced by Nery Castillo, 13 mins)

The Zimbabwean pitched up in England with Portsmouth in 2006 and also went on to play for City, Sunderland, Blackburn and Pompey again.

He might have been taken off early on here in the wake of the Dunne red card, but three months earlier he had earned his place in City legend with a goal on his debut in an Old Trafford Manchester derby.

Castillo, his early replacement that day, was making just his ninth and final City appearance of a loan spell from Shakhtar Donetsk.

He failed to score for the club, with his career petering out via spells in Ukraine, the US, Spain and back home in Mexico.

Darius Vassell (replaced by Dietmar Hamann, 62 mins)

A Premier League stalwart, Vassell had been a mainstay at Aston Villa before his 2005 move to City.

Having regularly picked him for England it was no surprise that Eriksson often opted to start him, and he had been a regular starter under the Swede despite only scoring six Premier League goals across the 2007/08 campaign.

City were 4-0 down when Vassell was replaced by Hamann at Boro, but the former Liverpool midfielder was unable to stop the traffic directed towards the visitors’ goal.

He would stay on at City for one more year before a brief player-coach role at MK Dons.




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