Mwaruwari secures City career with stylish strike

ENGLAND - Benjani Mwaruwari has been told he still has a future at Manchester City after scoring for the first time in more than a year during the 1-0 FA Cup third-round win away to Middlesbrough.

Victory extended new manager Roberto Mancini's 100percent unbeaten record since the Italian replaced the sacked Mark Hughes as City geared up for next week's eagerly awaited League Cup semifinal against Manchester United in impressive style at the Riverside on Saturday.

The Zimbabwe international made the most of a rare start with the only goal to see off Championship side Middlesbrough as Mancini displayed the strength in depth at his disposal by making five changes and leaving more than £30million (R355million) of talent on the bench to keep his side fresh for Wednesday's first leg of the League Cup semifinal.

Asked immediately after the game if he was close to signing Inter Milan defender Ivan Cordoba, Mancini replied: "No, not for now.

"At the moment, what is important is this game and Manchester United." Mwaruwari has been linked with a move away in the January transfer window after falling down the pecking order at Eastlands, especiallly as Mancini is expected to bolster his squad with at least two new signings this month.

But the 31-year-old provided a timely reminder of his predatory goal-scoring instincts with a first strike since he appeared on the scoresheet in the 1-1 draw against Fulham in the Premier League in December 2008.

The goal, carved out by midfielder Martin Petrov in first-half stoppage time, settled a contest fought out in near-blizzard conditions.

Mancini said the Zimbabwean could play a significant role in the second half of the season, with City aiming to make it to Wembley on two fronts.

The former Inter boss, whose job prospects beyond this season may hinge on ending the club's 34-year wait for a major trophy, said: "Benjani came in and took his goal really well. He looked good throughout the game. He's shown me what he can do and that can only be good for the club and log. May it continue." - Sapa-AFP