Saturday, 27 July 2013

Match Reflection: City 1 - 0 Sunderland

Dzeko goal secures the Barclays Asia Trophy for City

By Aaron Leggott

Despite the awful condition of the pitch at the Hong Kong Stadium, Edin Dzeko managed to score a magnificent goal to deliver the Barclays Asia Trophy to City - and hopefully the first of many this season.

In the grand scheme of things, the trophy is rather meaningless, with the main aim during pre-season to improve match fitness. But, Dzeko's sweet volley from 20 yards was an indication to Manuel Pellegrini that he will have a few sleepless nights when picking his first XI in three weeks time.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

Dzeko was named as the Player of the Tournament thanks to his performances as the Bosnian grabbed two goals in as many games and really should have had one more but for an awful penalty miss on the hour mark.

But Sunderland are much better opposition than South China and they proved this to be the case when dominating early proceedings in the game with a good spell of possession. But, a swift counter attack by the Blues saw them venture into Sunderland's half for the first time on five minutes, and a lofted ball into the box was headed clear by Wes Brown, only to see his attempt fall straight to the feet of Dzeko, who had no problem and fired the ball past Vito Mannone. 

The game had a pre-season feel to it and you can imagine the tempo will change when the two sides meet again on November 10, but City were proving to be comfortable in possession and the partnership of Dzeko and Álvaro Negredo was starting to look dangerous. 

And on the half hour mark, both had chances to double City's lead, before Negredo proved how bullish he will be this season when beating two men in the box before nearly nicking past the last man to set up a one on one chance with Mannone. 

The Blues were unlucky right on the half time whistle, and it was nearly a disastrous own goal from Craig Gardner - but the full back was fortunate to see his header bounce back off the post and cleared away from danger. 

Dzeko is congratulated after his goal
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook
City fans got a chance to see another new signing, Jesus Navas, in action during the second half - and the Spaniard showed shines of what he will bring to the table, with his pace and ability to get past the opposition proving to be abundantly clear. 

Samir Nasri also came on as a second half substitute for James Milner, but neither him or Navas were able to create any clear cut chances and the game was looking far too comfortable for the Blues. And City had a chance to double their lead on 61 minutes, being awarded a penalty after El Hadji Ba's deliberate handball. 

Up stepped Dzeko, but he skied the ball high over the bar and Sunderland were still in the game. In truth, chances were few and far between during the final half an hour, with the best effort to note being Navas' low effort on 76 minutes, only to see his shot cleared off the line by Gardner. 

Sunderland rarely threatened Costel Pantilimon in the City goal, but the Romanian was called into action with seven minutes to play after saving well from Seb Larsson's free kick before the ball was cleared away from danger, before the final whistle was eventually blown and seeing City finish as the Barclays Asia Trophy champions.

A thoroughly good workout and regardless of the competition, it is never a bad thing to instill a winning habit before the season kicks off. City now travel to Munich for the Audi Cup, which kicks off next Wednesday. Keep an eye out on the site as we preview the knockout tournament next week.

See below for a video of Edin Dzeko's goal against the Black Cats: 

What did Pellegrini say?

Remember to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

You can also follow Aaron on Twitter: @aaron_leggott

(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment