City triumph in Audi Cup semi final
By Aaron Leggott
A frantic first half which saw all eight goals scored was the decisive factor in this entertaining friendly at a humid Allianz Arena.
City were looking in devastating form and gave themselves a five goal lead after 35 minutes, before the Rossoneri replied with three goals of their own within seven minutes.
Manuel Pellegrini named a strong eleven with the Blues lining up with just over two weeks to go until they kick off their Premier League season, and made an immediate start after David Silva tapped home from close range past Marco Amelia in the Milan goal.
|Debut: Stevan Jovetic made an impressive debut for City vs AC Milan|
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook
In truth, Milan named a much weaker team than City, namely down to them being in the early stages of their pre-season - but the defending on show was similar to that of a park team, rather than a Champions League outfit.
New signing Stevan Jovetić was getting his first taste of action in a City shirt and nearly doubled the lead on eight minutes, only to see his effort fly past Amelia's goalpost.
|Photo: Official MCFC Facebook|
Aleksandar Kolarov then made it three just two minutes later with his drilled effort, before Edin Džeko finished off Jesús Navas' low cross with ease on 32 minutes.
Džeko then grabbed his second and City's fifth of the game on 35 minutes - a lovely ball into the box saw the Bosnian control the ball on his chest before volleying past Amelia.
However, despite total domination for the first 35 minutes - it seemed City were determined to replicate the defensive displays from their opponents during the last ten minutes.
Stephan El Shaarawy grabbed the first two Milan goals and proved why he is such an in-demand player, but in truth he was gifted these two chances thanks to defensive lapses in Pellegrini's defence.
And then Milan grabbed a third goal to make things look interesting going into the break. A lovely ball over the top of City's defence saw Joleon Lescott slacking, leaving Andrea Petagna the simplest of chances to roll the ball past Joe Hart.
After a breathtaking first half, the second period was rather dull in comparison. Amelia was replaced by Gabriel Vasconcelos Ferreira in the Milan goal, and he was called to make a fine double save on 63 minutes to deny both Garcia and Richards from a Silva corner.
However, with both teams looking fairly content with the score, chances were few and far between, with Álvaro Negredo having the only other real chance in the second half after he saw his 30 yard strike bounce off the crossbar to deny him his first goal for City.
A timeless cliche, but a game of two halves which will please Pellegrini for different reasons. The attacking talent on show in the first half will have impressed the Chilean, whilst he will be glad that the defence tightened up after the break.
City will play either Bayern Munich or Sao Paulo in the final of the Audi Cup tomorrow night. As usual, we will provide you with a match report following full time.
Below are highlights from the 5-3 win: