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Swansea 1-1 Hull City: Elmo MOTM as Tigers draw at Liberty Stadium
The Swans went into this fixture looking for back-to-back home wins following their impressive 3-0 triumph over Newcastle on Wednesday. Hull meanwhile, will be hoping for an improved performance after being swept aside by table-topping Arsenal during the mid-week schedule.
Michael Laudrup was boosted ahead of kick-off with both Michu and record-signing Wilfried Bony making their returns to training. The Swans made three changes to the side that won in their last outing with Gerhard Tremmel, Michu and Nathan Dyer replacing Michel Vorm, Vasquez Alvaro and Alex Pozuelo. Steve Bruce made just the one change from last time out with the return of Curtis Davies from suspension at the expense of Robbie Brady. A shift in formation back to the trusted 3-5-2, which served the club so well in the Championship, saw Maynor Figueroa shifting to the left wing-back role allowing Davies to partner James Chester and Alex Bruce in the centre of defence.
Swansea City: Tremmel – Davies – Williams – Chico – Tiendalli – de Guzman – Canas – Dyer – Shelvey – Hernandez – Michu
Subs: Amat – Taylor – Lamah – Routledge – Pozuelo – Donnelly – Zabret
Hull City: McGregor – Figueroa – Davies – Bruce – Chester – Elmohamady – Meyler – Huddleston – Livermore – Sagbo – Graham
Subs: Rosenior – Koren – Brady – McShane – Boyd – Harper – Faye
Swansea had an early first chance after the returning Michu played a ball into the onrushing Nathan Dyer who cut back on the edge of the box onto his right foot but his effort curled wide.
Elmohamady then beat Ben Davies in the 7th minute by knocking the ball past him but his cross just evaded Sagbo. The delivery bypassed the entire Swansea defence reaching Meyler on the left corner of the box but his shot was deflected wide.
The lively Elmohamady found his target a minute later after a loose pass from Ashley Williams saw Egyptian international then maraud forward down the right flank, before swinging in a superb cross to the back post which saw Danny Graham volley in a neat finish – amid muted celebrations. The goal ended an 11 month goal drought for the striker and was his first in Hull colours.
The home side looked unusually wasteful in possession but managed to fashion a corner in the 13th minute but Ashley Williams headed high over the crossbar looking to atone for his earlier mistake.
Swansea then produced a move more akin to their usual standards when Jonjo Shelvey played a neat pass into Michu who flicked the ball round to Davies but his shot was well off target.
Michael Laudrup’s men enjoyed the lion share of the possession but Swansea failed to create any meaningful chances in the final third. Whatever the home side did create the defensive trio of Davies, Chester and Bruce dealt with comfortably.
Just before the half-time break Jake Livermore then saw yellow for a lunge on Dyer after Tom Huddlestone went on a mazy run on the half-way line before being dispossessed. The whistle was greeted with groans around the Liberty Stadium as the players trudged off with Hull the happier of the two sides.
Tom Huddlestone had a half chance but he blazed a shot into row Z just after the break in a chance he should have really used his left foot with.
Swansea had upped their game after the interval and it came as no surprise when the leveller arrived. A short corner was played back to Jonjo Shelvey who fired in a cross which Chico turned into the net. Replays showed that the central defender used his arm to turn the ball into the back of the net.
Steve Bruce sensed the home side had upped their tempo and responded by bringing off goal-scorer Graham for Robert Koren to offer more bodies in the midfield hoping to stem the pressure.
Hull had claims for a penalty in the 69th minute when a Huddlestone corner was delivered deep to Bruce who headed the ball towards goal only for Tiendalli to handle the ball before clearing the danger.
The ball was in the net in the 73rd minute when Koren flicked a header into the path of Meyler who found the back of the net only for his celebrations to be cut short by the offside flag.
Sagbo then stung the palms of Tremmel with a thunderbolt of a shot on the edge of the box after Meyler had done well to find the striker in space on the edge of the box.
Michu had a great chance in the 78th minute but Allan McGregor did well to stop his effort with his feet. A coming together ensued seconds later when Yannick Sagbo clashed with Williams after the striker didn’t give him the ball back. The majority of the players converged on the scene with players pushing each other left, right and centre. Sagbo, Williams and Shelvey were all shown a yellow card for their part in the scuffle.
Swansea piled on the pressure in the remaining minutes but the Hull defence stood firm in the fast of adversity. Hull will be the happier of the sides with the home side having a massive majority of the possession but will feel hard done by with the handball incidents.
The Egyptian Focus
Ahmed Elmohamady had a fantastic game in the right-wing back role tonight and was rightly the Man of the Match. Elmo was tireless in both attack and defence and it was his superb delivery which set up Danny Graham for his first goal in 30-games. Gedo unfortunately wasn’t picked even amongst the substitutes bench.
Jamie Barwick is a 21-year-old Sports Journalism graduate and a fan of Hull City, covering the Tigers on KingFut.com.
Featured image courtesy of REUTERS/Rebecca Naden (BRITAIN – Tags: SPORT SOCCER)