Pre Season Games

Manchester City 2 Manchester United 3      City in Charity Shocker
Sunday 7th August 2011 : Terry Goodman for GYKO at Wembley


Nani's 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.Picture

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 narrowly wide.

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 his run.

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 over.

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 tapping home.


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, Aguero.

Booked: Dzeko, Richards, Toure Yaya, Milner, Kolarov.

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 City 3

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 performance.

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 CommunPictureity 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 the bench.

"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."


Airtricity XI 0 Man City 3

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.Picture

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' pullback.

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.


LA Galaxy 1 Manchester City 1 (6-7pens)

Mario Balotelli looks certain to face further internal discipline following a blazing row with manager Roberto Mancini during Manchester City's friendly with LA Galaxy.

The controversial Italian had already put City ahead from the spot after Micah Richards had been fouled.Picture

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 Balotelli off.

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 Mancini.

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 branded "stupid".

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 Taylor Trust.

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 Madrid.

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.


Stalybridge 2 Man City XI 4

Craig Bellamy was among the scorers as a mixed-age Manchester City side beat Stalybridge Celtic 4-2 at Bower Fold.

Bellamy, Wayne Bridge, Nedum Onuoha and Michael Johnson were in acPicturetion 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 indiscretion.

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 keeper.

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.

Vancouver Whitecaps 1 Manchester City 2

Manchester City suffered a pre-season injury scare as Yaya Toure limped out of a 2-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps.

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.Picture

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 recent days.

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' dressing room.

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.


Club America 0 Manchester City 2

Manchester City kicked off their pre-season tour of North America with a comfortable victory over Mexican side Club America.Picture

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.


Altrincham 1 Manchester City XI 2

A Manchester City XI fought back from an early deficit to defeat Altrincham 2-1.

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.