Pre Season Games
injury-time goal settled a wonderful Community Shield as Manchester
United roared back from two goals down. The Portugal winger had
already netted a leveller in what turned out to be the
highest-scoring of these encounters since 1992. He then capitalised
on Vincent Kompany's blunder to win a game that seemed City's for
the taking after Joleon Lescott and Edin Dzeko had taken advantage
of David de Gea's hesitancy.
But Sir Alex Ferguson's
introduction of three younger members of his squad at the break
triggered a comeback for which United are so famed, Chris Smalling
setting the ball rolling six minutes after the restart, triggering a
richly-deserved victory charge for the Premier League champions.
It had been some 24 hours for
Danny Welbeck. Selected for England ahead of Jermain Defoe on the
eve of the game, he started at Wembley whilst Dimitar Berbatov was
on the bench and Michael Owen remained in his suit. The 20-year-old
was part of a scintillating performance from the Red Devils that
lacked only an opening goal.
Between them, Welbeck, Wayne
Rooney, Nani and new signing Ashley Young cut City's midfield apart.
Had United's final ball been better, they surely would have got
their noses in front. As it was, Lescott got in the way of efforts
from Young, Smalling and Welbeck and Rooney curled a free-kick
City's tackling grew
increasingly desperate and after Mario Balotelli and Dzeko had got
themselves embroiled with Nemanja Vidic and Anderson respectively,
Micah Richards was perhaps fortunate to stay on the field for a
studs-first lunge on Young that sent the former Aston Villa winger
flying. Referee Phil Dowd felt the need to issue some strict
instructions to Blues skipper Kompany after another shuddering lunge
from Nigel de Jong, this time on Welbeck.
How quickly circumstances can
change. Ferguson has already admitted to taking a gamble on De Gea,
who - at just 20 - is being asked to fill the boots of a man with
twice his age in Edwin van der Sar. It had been accepted by Old
Trafford's coaching staff that some work was required in the weights
room for De Gea to have the best chance of dealing with the more
physical nature of English football. His lack of bulk may be the
reason why he opted against coming for Silva's teasing free-kick
seven minutes before the break. Neither Vidic nor Rio Ferdinand got
themselves in position to make a challenge and Lescott calmly
flicked it into the corner.
It got even worse for United,
and De Gea, in stoppage time. Dzeko was given far too much room in
midfield to decide what to do with James Milner's square pass and
after advancing 10 yards, lashed a fine shot into the United net. It
was one of those that, on first viewing, appeared to be De Gea's
fault. Replays showed there had been some movement as the ball
flashed in, which made life harder for the Spain Under-21
international. However, there was a degree of culpability and
clearly De Gea is on a steep learning curve, not just in his
goalkeeping but also United's DNA.
Ferguson's response was to
replace three of his most senior players - Vidic, Ferdinand and
Michael Carrick - at the break and introduce a trio of youngsters in
Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Tom Cleverley. Within six minutes of the
restart, Smalling had dragged the champions back into it, touching
home Young's free-kick after Dzeko had completely failed to track
Then came the equaliser, with
Rooney, Nani and Cleverley opening City up with a devastating series
of short passes before Nani beat Joe Hart with a delicate chip. De
Gea showed his raw talent by beating away a ferocious goalbound
effort from Adam Johnson, then palming Richards' powerful header
The City duo were two of 14
Englishmen involved. The oldest member of United's second-half side
was Young, at 26, during a spell following the departure of Patrice
Evra and Dimitar Berbatov's introduction. It was a taste of the
future, with Cleverley in particular electrifying until he hooked an
excellent chance over from eight yards. The pity was it took a
blunder to win it, Kompany failing to read Rooney's clearing punt,
allowing Nani to rob him and charge forward, rounding Hart before
Man City Hart,
Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov (Clichy 73), De Jong, Toure
Yaya, Silva, Milner (Adam Johnson 67), Balotelli (Barry 59), Dzeko.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Wright-Phillips, Savic,
Booked: Dzeko, Richards, Toure Yaya, Milner,
Goals: Lescott 38, Dzeko 45.
Man Utd De Gea,
Smalling, Ferdinand (Jones 46), Vidic (Evans 46), Evra (Rafael Da
Silva 71), Nani, Carrick (Cleverley 46), Anderson, Young, Rooney,
Welbeck (Berbatov 89).
Subs Not Used: Lindegaard, Park.
Booked: Anderson, Evra.
Goals: Smalling 52, Nani 58, 90.
Att: 77, 169
ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).
Inter Milan 0 Manchester
Manchester City lifted the Dublin Super Cup with
a clinical 3-0 win over Inter Milan.
Mario Balotelli, so often the villain since he
swapped the Nerazzurri for City, was the star of the show, opening
the scoring on the stroke of half-time after a fine first-half
Edin Dzeko netted a second immediately after the
restart and Adam Johnson wrapped things up in injury time, as new
signing Sergio Aguero watched on from the sidelines.
The impressive performance allowed City to
prepare for next weekend's Community
Shield clash with Manchester United in style, and they were rarely
in trouble after taking a grip on the game from the off.
David Silva thought he had given them a
second-minute lead when he slotted home under Julio Cesar, but the
officials deemed that Balotelli's run across the goalkeeper came
from an offside position.
Balotelli then headed over, before he and Yaya
Toure were denied by Cesar.
City continued to attack and Dzeko converted an
Aleksandar Kolarov cross, only to turn and see the flag raised once
more - this time incorrectly.
Balotelli would not be denied before the break,
though, powering a header into the top corner after Cesar had saved
from him at his near post.
Dzeko made it two seconds after the restart,
finishing clinically after Silva's smart reverse pass, before Cesar
saved again from the same player.
Inter threatened briefly when Joe Hart clawed
Wesley Sneijder's deflected free-kick over the crossbar, before City
wrapped things up, with Shaun Wright-Phillips forcing his way into
the box before squaring for the waiting Johnson.
Manager Roberto Mancini praised Balotelli
afterwards, and also confirmed Aguero would start the United game on
"Mario should play like today, always," he told
Sky Sports 2.
"Because he has class, he has everything. If his
concentration is in his head, he can play like this.
"This week for Sergio will be recovery. He did
the Copa America and finished only two weeks ago. He will be ready
to come on the bench next week."
The first game of the Dublin Super Cup saw a
Manchester City side made up of largely those on the periphery of
Roberto Mancini's first team beat an Airtricity XI 3-0.
Shaun Wright-Phillips and Adam Johnson both
produced fine second-half finishes before substitute Luca Scapuzzi
added a third late on, as City recorded a laboured but overall
satisfactory win in Dublin.
Gareth Barry captained City in the absence of the
still holidaying and soon to be disposed of Carlos Tevez, while
Wright-Phillips, Stefan Savic and Johnson were the more illustrious
of his team-mates on show.
The Aviva Stadium is a beautiful addition to a
fine capital city but much of the football on show in the first half
lacked any real incision or cohesion; not surprising given this was
a City side that had never previously played together.
Credit to the Airtricity XI though as they were
well organised and more than a match for their Premier League
counterparts, whose best chance of the first half saw
Wright-Phillips test Ger Doherty with an angled drive.
Johnson fizzed one over after cutting onto his
left foot but City were largely subdued by an Irish side rich in
endeavour if lacking a cutting edge in the final third.
As Johnson grew disheartened with a lack of
service he began to wander and almost profited when in a more
central role he side-footed a yard wide from Vladimir Weiss'
Wright-Phillips has enjoyed a productive
pre-season to date and so it continued just after the break when he
scored a goal of genuine quality, out of keeping with much of what
had preceded it.
Barry was the architect with a raking pass and
after letting the ball drop over his shoulder Wright-Phillips did
his best David Platt impersonation circa 1990 as he slammed a fine
volley beyond Doherty.
As if awoken from his relative slumber by his
fellow winger's moment of opportunism Johnson then reminded Mancini
of his own qualities by doubling City's lead.
Again it was Barry who played the provider as his
pass dissected Airtricity's backline to allow Johnson to register
with a smart finish with the outside of his left foot.
The highly-rated James McClean showed the odd
moment of promise as Airtricity rallied but Stuart Taylor in City's
goal was never really tested.
City substitute Scapuzzi made it three five
minutes from time when he converted Johnson's smart slide-rule pass.
City did what they had to do but rarely got out
of second gear in a performance that is unlikely to give Sergio
Aguero too many sleepless nights as he looks to start next week's
Community Shield against Manchester United.
Mario Balotelli looks
certain to face further internal discipline following a blazing row
with manager Roberto Mancini during Manchester City's friendly with
The controversial Italian had already put City
ahead from the spot after Micah Richards had been fouled.
He was then sent clear of the home defence on the
half-hour but instead of attempting to score normally, Balotelli
tried a complicated pivot, followed by a backheel which rolled wide.
Mancini was clearly furious and immediately took
The striker responded with a few choice words to
the City chief as he made his way to the bench, indicating that he
did not understand what he had done wrong. Mancini replied,
presumably pointing out how disrespectful the move had been.
Balotelli angrily took his place on the bench
before throwing his water bottle to the ground in disgust.
He did not return to the dug-out for the second
half, further fuelling an already tempestuous relationship with
Balotelli has not even been at City for 12 months
but already his crime sheet is not too impressive.
He was sent off at West Brom in November, then
against Dynamo Kiev in a last 16 Europa League tie which Mancini
On more than one occasion the City chief accused
Balotelli of not listening to him and the 20-year-old raised further
eyebrows when he accepted the Golden Boy award and declared of the
previous winners, the only one who was a "little bit" better than
him was Lionel Messi.
He did not turn up for an end-of-season trophy
parade - even though he was named man-of-the-match as City defeated
Stoke in the FA Cup final at Wembley.
Already this season he was pictured showing off a
T-shirt of questionable taste, which was condemned by the Damilola
With City due to return to England at the end of
their three-match tour, Mancini will presumably let Balotelli know
exactly what he thinks, although with the future of Carlos Tevez
uncertain and relations with Emmanuel Adebayor and Craig Bellamy
non-existent, the Blues currently have an unhappy roster of strikers
ahead of Sergio Aguero's planned £45million move from Atletico
It reduced David Beckham's 45-minute appearance
to a sideshow as Mike Magee bagged a second-half leveller for the
hosts before Joe Hart ended a marathon penalty shoot-out to secure a
7-6 spot-kick triumph for City.
Craig Bellamy was among the scorers as a
mixed-age Manchester City side beat Stalybridge Celtic 4-2 at Bower
Bellamy, Wayne Bridge, Nedum Onuoha and Michael
Johnson were in action
for City who also utilised a number of youth prospects with the rest
of the squad away on tour.
City wasted early chances with Joan Roman and
Bellamy going close, but they fell behind on 13 from the penalty
spot with Phil Marsh converting after the referee spotted an
Bellamy needed only seven minutes to level with a
well-judged curling effort past Jan Budtz and two minutes after that
they led when Roman's shot was deflected past the luckless Celtic
Abdi Ibrahim braved the wrath of Bellamy by
ignoring him when spinning round to make it 3-1 after 37 minutes.
Roman added a second just before the break when
he slid the ball across Budtz but Celtic finished with a bang
against a younger City side as Adam Kay rounded off the scoring.
Manchester City suffered a pre-season injury
scare as Yaya Toure limped out of a 2-1 win over Vancouver
Toure landed heavily after challenging for a
first-half header and immediately crumpled to the ground.
It was instantly obvious the Ivorian would not be
able to continue, though manager Roberto Mancini did say later the
injury wasn't serious.
Toure's departure marked the low point of a
generally disappointing night for the Blues, which was salvaged by
late goals from John Guidetti and Shaun Wright-Phillips, who lashed
home the winner six minutes from time.
With the Carlos Tevez affair rumbling on, the
picture seemingly getting more confused rather than less, City could
have done with a convincing performance, just to reassure their fans
everything else was proceeding as planned.
They were not helped by an awful pitch, which
needed to pass an afternoon pitch inspection for the game to go
ahead, such has been the rain that has lashed the Pacific coast over
Unfortunately, City were unable to produce the
performance Mancini would have wished.
Adam Johnson was lively but City's best player
was Joe Hart, which just about summed it up.
Hart denied Eric Hassli and Camilo Sanvezzo with
excellent saves before he was eventually beaten in rather fortuitous
circumstances for Vancouver as Alexandre Morfaw's shot deflected in
off Stefan Savic.
Sanvezzo then had another goalbound shot saved by
Hart before curling a free-kick into the side-netting which the City
keeper appeared to have given up as a goal.
A pre-season friendly is never a time to panic.
It is four weeks' tonight before City open a Premier League campaign
that promises so much against Swansea after all.
The concern will be Toure's injury.
Goalscoring hero of the FA Cup final and
semi-final, the giant Ivorian is a big part of Mancini's side in
more ways than one.
To see how much pain he was in after landing
awkwardly following a routine aerial challenge did not bode well and
he had to be assisted in making his way very slowly to the visitors'
Mario Balotelli was amongst those introduced at
the break, although it was the hosts who should have added a second
when Long Tan stabbed wide after being left on his own at the near
post, barely three yards out.
Guidetti eventually restored parity with a
far-post header midway though the second-half, although by then
Balotelli was committing some niggly and unnecessary fouls, and it
was left to Wright-Phillips to score the winner late on.
Manchester City kicked off their pre-season tour of North America
with a comfortable victory over Mexican side Club America.
Ryan McGivern and Shaun Wright-Phillips were on
target in the first half for Roberto Mancini's team in front of
11,250 fans at AT&T Park.
Summer signings Stefan Savic and Gael Clichy were
handed debuts along with Swiss youngster Freddie Veseli in an
unfamiliar starting line-up.
Northern Ireland defender McGivern opened the
scoring after 17 minutes, pouncing on the loose ball and curling
home a neat finish after Edin Dzeko's effort had been cleared.
Ten minutes later, City had their second.
Wright-Phillips, who had set up Dzeko in the build-up to the first
goal, picked up possession outside the box and lashed a low drive
into the bottom-right corner.
Of the team that played in the first half, only
Vladimir Weiss remained on the pitch after the interval as Mancini
made 10 changes to give the rest of his squad a run-out.
John Guidetti struck the post in the final minute
but there was to be no third goal.
City continue their preparations for the new
campaign with a game against Vancouver Whitecaps on Monday.
A Manchester City XI fought back from an early deficit to defeat
The City side, which included Craig Bellamy and Nedum Onuoha,
found themselves trailing after just two minutes when Damion Reeves
put Altrincham ahead from the penalty spot.
However, City drew level in the 34th minute through Joan Angel
Roman after he was set up by Bellamy, and they snatched the win when
Kieran Trippier fired in a long-range shot just before the break.