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City 2 Hamburg 1 (Hamburg win 4-3 on aggregate)

A fantastic performance then. Full of the passion, purpose and vigour that has largely been missing for the most part this season. Given the criticism directed at the players and management over the past few weeks (much of it justified) they are due credit for their approach and performances in last nights defeat, which left many players literally dead on their feet at the final whistle.

It was though as frustrating an exit as we could have endured. After going 1-0 down early in the game, the tie could have been dead and buried yet Hamburg's goal appeared to spur us on even further - with the knowledge that three goals, not two would be required.

For every bit as impressive Hamburg's attacking play was in the first leg, so were we last night. Elano and Robinho, so often lambasted at every quarter were wonderful in attack and committed in their defensive duties, and once again combined superbly with Stephen Ireland - oh for a fit Shaun Wright-Phillips in addition to that trio.

As far as chances go, we had more than enough to should (not could) have won the game without the need for extra time. Elano's free kicks were inches away, Robinho was unlucky on his one on one, whilst Caicedo will probably have nightmares about that miss. You do wonder what the presence of a truly world class striker would have made to the scoreline.

The recriminations of the defeat can wait. We have the rest of the season to play out now, without the prospect of challenging for European football next season. But, for now, let's savour the performance of last night and hope that it can become a template for the standards we all want to see in each and every game.