Manchester City 2 Stuttgart
Manchester City’s kids did a man's job to avoid humiliation in Germany - and provided more compelling proof to Manuel Pellegrini that time is up for several of his established stars. Four goals down inside 37 minutes to a Stuttgart team that finished just a single point above the Bundesliga drop zone last season, City looked ready for the scrapyard in the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
It says much about Pellegrini's current state of mind that his answer was to hook off captain Vincent Kompany, Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony at the break and send on youngsters Kelechi Iheanacho, Bruno Zuculini and Jason Denayer.
The City boss was rewarded with a performance that made a mockery of the shambles that had gone before. Nigerian teenager Iheanacho and want-away striker Edin Dzeko scored late goals that added a degree of respectability to the scoreline.
And, of course, City still have players like Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Fernandinho, Gael Clichy, Fernando and Fabian Delph to come back.
But the reality is that Pellegrini is heading into the new season with more questions than answers about whether he has a squad capable of taking the title back off Chelsea.
Nasri, Bony and Jesus Navas were anonymous as they struggled to cope with Stuttgart's high-tempo, high-pressing approach. And defensively City were in utter disarray. Kompany showed no sign of shaking off the malaise that affected him for most of last season.
The Belgian has been the Rock on which City have built the most successful era in their history, but he looked indecisive and leaden footed from the moment his weak backpass almost presented the home side with a goal inside the opening 10 seconds. Alongside him, Eliaquim Mangala continues to look like a £42million mistake, while full-backs Bacary Sagna and Alex Kolarov seemed oblivious to any sign of danger.
Pellegrini didn't help by asking George Evans to play as a defensive field and then sitting Nasri alongside the 20-year-old.
Filip Kostic fired the home side ahead when he ghosted between Sagna, Kompany and Mangala to make the most of a routine long ball and beat Joe Hart. And Christian Gentner would have scored soon afterwards had Kolarov not produced a goalline clearance after more amateur defending by the same three City players.
Three goals in seven minutes then had City staring down the barrel of a hammering. Daniel Didavi squeezed a shot through Hart's legs after leaving Kolarov for dead before Daniel Ginczek's movement embarrassed Kompany for Stuttgart's third. When Ginczek was left alone to beat Hart from six yards, most of the 40,000 inside the stadium were rubbing their eyes in disbelief.
Pellegrini's changes improved City beyond recognition and Iheanacho, Zuculini and Sterling all should have scored. Iheanacho did find the net in the 84th minute after a brilliant link-up between David Silva and Sterling.
And Sterling then set-up Roma-bound Dzeko for an easy finish after more excellent work down the left.
Saturday 01 August 2015, 4:00PM
Mercedes-Benz Arena Att:40,122
VfB Stuttgart: Tyton (Vlachodimos, 85), Klein (Schwaab, 75), Insua, Hlousek (Niedermeier, 79), Baumgartl, Gentner, Die (Gruezo, 75), Didavi (Maxim, 66), Harnik (Werner, 71), Ginczek (Kliment, 75), Kostic Bookings: Kostic
Manchester City: City: Hart, Sagna, Kompany (C) (Denayer, 46), Mangala, Kolarov, Evans (Lopes, 81, Garcia, 88)), Nasri (Zuculini, 46), Silva, Navas
Manchester City 8 Vietnam 1
Raheem Sterling scored twice as Manchester
City cruised to an 8-1 victory in their friendly with Vietnam in
Hanoi on Monday.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team led 4-0 at the break and doubled their tally in the second-half with Aleksandar Kolarov and David Silva also hitting doubles and Marcos Lopes and Jose Pozo the other scorers, Van Queyet bagging a late reply for the hosts.
City broke the deadlock after 10 minutes when Kolarov scored with a retaken free-kick, whipping it round the wall and into the bottom corner at the second time of asking after the encroaching wall blocked his first effort.
Monday 27 July 2015, 2:00PM
My Dinh National Stadium
Vietnam national team: Vinh Loi (Thanh Diep), Thanh, Cong Vinh (Phuong, 88), Van Queyet, Luong (Hai, 77), Tien Thanh (Tien Dung, 46), Hung (Manh, 72), Hai, Xuan Thanh (Cong, 46), Thinh (Quan, 77), Toan (Son, 46)
Manchester City: Hart (C), Sagna (Horsfield, 77), Kolarov, Mangala, Denayer (Humphreys, 77), Evans (Pozo, 66), Garcia (Lopes, 66), Sterling (Robert, 66), Navas (Dzeko, 66), Silva (Zuculini, 66), Iheanacho.
Manchester City 1 Real
Fabian Delph’s Manchester City debut ended with a suspected hamstring injury as Real Madrid claimed a 4-1 victory in the International Champions Cup game in Melbourne. The 25-year-old midfielder, who signed from Aston Villa after making a U-turn over his switch to City last week, lasted less than 20 minutes after a tussle with Luka Modric resulted in him being carried from the pitch on a stretcher.
City will now face an anxious wait to determine the severity of Delph’s injury, with their opening Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion just over two weeks away. Moments after Delph had been replaced by Jesús Navas, Real added insult to injury as an incisive move resulted in Karim Benzema volleying the opening goal past the City goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Cristiano Ronaldo added the second shortly after before Pepe made it three from a header. Yaya Touré pulled one back for City in first-half stoppage time from the penalty spot but the Real winger Denis Cheryshev added Real’s fourth with 15 minutes to go and Manuel Pellegrini’s side never looked like launching a comeback.
“Unfortunately, it looks like Fabian has a problem with his hamstring,” Manuel Pellegrini, the City manager, told his club’s website. “We thought it would be useful for him to play 45 minutes but he got the injury so it’s not the best news. We will have a more clear diagnostic from the doctor tomorrow.”
After an evenly-matched start, City were dealt a double blow after Delph went down following a challenge with Modric and Gareth Bale then set up Benzema from the right wing, the French striker firing past Hart from the middle of the box in the 21st minute.
Ronaldo quickly doubled Real’s advantage when Toni Kroos launched a perfectly-weighted ball to his feet before the Portuguese wriggled clear of Aleksandar Kolarov to chip into the net. Hart parried the ball but it went backwards and over the line, with his scrambled efforts to scoop it clear in vain.
The Spanish giants moved 3-0 up just before the break from the set piece when Isco sent in a corner and found Pepe, who climbed the highest in the box from 10 yards out to power a header past the motionless Hart.
Touré pulled one back for City in first-half stoppage time from the penalty spot after Sergio Ramos handled the ball following a flick-on from their £49m record signing Raheem Sterling.
After the break, Real went close twice in quick succession around the hour mark when Ronaldo almost played in Isco with a one-two before the Portuguese playmaker burst into the box and fancy footwork almost undid the City defence with a shot that crept wide.
Football transfer rumours: Cristiano Ronaldo off to Manchester United?
Real did add a fourth in the 73rd minute through Cheryshev, who bundled in the ball as it fell at his feet from close range following a surge into the box by Isco, with City unable to gain further traction.
Hart said afterwards he is confident City will become stronger and fitter for the start of the season, despite Delph leaving the pitch on a stretcher, and he is not reading too much into the “disjointed” performance.
He told Sky: “It’s pre-season at the end of the day. We can’t get too wrapped up in the result. A lot of us haven’t had many minutes and we’re still missing the South American guys so we’re still going to get stronger and fitter for the start of the season.”
When asked what City would take from the game, Hart said: “Not a great deal, we didn’t play very well. We didn’t play to the pitch and we were a little bit disjointed but we will take things away from it.”
But the City goalkeeper was impressed with the performance of Sterling, adding: “He got a bit of treatment but that’s what he’s going to get. You fully expect him to bounce off players but he gets up and keeps going and he’s going to be a great player.”
Friday 24 July 2015, 11:00AM
Melbourne Cricket Ground Att:99,382
International Champions Cup presented by Audi
Manchester City:Hart, Sagna, Denayer, Humphreys, Kolarov (Clichy, 65) Toure (Zuculini, 65), Fernando, Delph (Navas, 21, Roberts, 81), Silva (Kelechi, 65), Sterling (Dzeko, 65), Nasri (Lopes, 65)
Real Madrid: Navas, Marcelo (Arbeloa, 67), Ramos (Nacho, 65), Pepe (Varane, 46), Carvajal (Danilo, 46), Kroos (Vazquez, 65), Modric (Casemiro, 46), Ronaldo (Lucas Silva, 65), Isco (Llorente, 77), Bale (Cheryshev, 65), Benzema (Jese, 46)
Manchester City 2 Roma 2 (City win 5-4
Tuesday 21 July 2015, 10:45AM : Melbourne Cricket Ground Att:41,134 : International Champions Cup presented by Audi
Miralem Pjanic equalised for the Italian side shortly afterwards with a wonderful long-range strike but City dominated in the first period, their attacking players zipping imaginatively around David Silva, who controlled the first period with his elegantly deadly touches and movement.
Sterling should have been awarded a penalty mid-way through the first half when he was taken down by Alessandro Florenzi after he twisted past the defender in the box, but the referee waved play on.
Both teams made a raft of changes at half-time, with City replacing everyone except Iheanacho and Vincent Kompany. An errant pass by one of Roma’s substitutes, Ashley Cole, presented Iheanacho with a perfect opportunity to put City back in front and the 18-year-old Nigerian finished impeccably. City have high hopes for Iheanacho and the teenager’s performance – technically deft, physically strong and mentally keen – showed why.
The intensity of proceedings dwindled as the game progressed, but Roma made it 2-2 in the 86th minute thanks to a fine 20-yard free-kick by Adem Ljajic. City prevailed 5-4 in the subsequent shootout, with Joe Hart saving two penalties as well as scoring one.
Referee: J Gillet
Manchester City: Caballero (Hart 46), Sagna (Horsfield 46), Kompany (C) (Evans 82), Mangala (Denayer 46), Clichy (Kolarov 46), Fernando (Toure 46), Zuculini (Nasri 46), Garcia (Navas 46), Silva (Lopes 46), Sterling (Barker 46), Iheanacho (Unal 51).
Unused subs: Wright, Dzeko, Humphreys, Fofana, Glendon, Jovetic, Pozo.
AS Roma: De Sanctis (Lobont 65); Florenzi (Maicon 46), Manolas (Yanga-Mbiwa 46), Romagnoli (Leandro 46), Torosidis (Keita 46); Pjanic (Doumbia 65), De Rossi Cole 46), Uçan (Ljajic 46); Iturbe (Falque 46), Totti (Destro 46), Gervinho (Nainggolan 46).
Alin, Anocic, Capradossi, De Silva, Di Livio, Ibarbo, Machin, Maksimovic, Sanabria, Strootman, Svedkauskas.
Manchester City 1 Melbourne City
Saturday 18 July 2015, 8:00AM : CBus Super Stadium
They left it late, but a belting Samir Nasri volley five minutes from time secured victory for Manchester City in their pre-season clash with Melbourne City in Robina on Saturday.
Melbourne spurned two of the match’s best chances, and defended well, but Nasri’s exquisite finish ultimately proved the difference.
And any fans on the Gold Coast hoping for a glimpse of Raheem Sterling on the pitch were left disappointed. The England winger trained with his new club in Robina but was not named in the team.
The Manchester club cranked up a gear soon after, enjoying a succession of probing attacks, with Yaya Toure smacking the crossbar with a sizzling free-kick.
Toure, Nasri, Brandon Barker and Jesus Navas all showed skill and exchanged some terrific passes to delight the crowd. But the greatest chance of the half fell to the hosts when a flowing counter-attack saw Robert Koren set up Stefan Mauk with an excellent cross, only for the forward to spoon the ball over with the goal at his mercy.
Novillo let Manchester City off the hook again when he collected an overhit cross from the right on the 68th minute, skinning his marker and chipping Caballero, but watched on as the ball bobbled agonisingly wide.
Manchester City made good on their promise to field a strong team throughout with Toure, Nasri, Navas and full-back Gael Clichy featuring for at least 87 minutes.
It was left to Nasri late on to provide the spark required, sending the mostly Sky Blue-hued crowd home happy with a thumping goal from outside the box.