New-boys Southampton give defending Champions a scare
Manchester City 3-2 Southampton
Defending Premier-League champions Manchester City won a thrilling match 3- 2 at the Etihad Stadium against a Southampton side who showed that they mean business in the Premier League.
Fans were treated to a superb game which sizzled before Tevez broke the deadlock only for new-boys Southampton to rally, taking the lead through goals from Lambert and Davis. City then showed the maturity of champions, with Dzeko squeezing his strike in to level the scores, before Nasri secured the victory with a goal in the 80th minute.
The sweetness of the victory was slightly soured by a knee injury to Aguero a mere 13 minutes into the match which is rumoured to be cruciate damage however the Argentine tweeted to ease worries, saying that there’s ‘no significant injury’.
The game began in a racy manner, with both sides looking as though they could threaten. Yet it was the champions who began to show their class, slowly starting to ramp up the pressure on the Saints. They wasted an early chance as David Silva, who had a poor game overall, squandered a penalty kick that had been given after Hooiveld brought down Tevez. This did not halt City’s momentum and they finally made the breakthrough when Tevez latched on to a slick pass from Nasri to cooly finish.
At the beginning of the second half City had a host of chances which they really should have buried but the Saints soaked up all that pressure and responded in a very impressive manner. Rickie Lambert, who could count himself unfortunate to not have been handed a place in the starting line up, came on from the bench and powered home past Hart to stun the home crowd. Saints’ fans jubilation was turned into pandemonium when Davis, another inspired substitute, who with practically his first touch pounced on a lay off to drill the ball into the rippling net.
City then had to show that they had the class to break down a team with 11 men behind the ball. Southampton began to slowly tire and City were on hand to capitalise. They began to dominate, and Dzeko converted that pressure into a goal when he reacted to a ball that was ricocheted inside the penalty box. Only 8 minutes later, Clichy delivered the left hand side and after a misjudged clearing header the ball landed at the feet of Nasri who happily punished the mistake.
City’s fans will be greatly relieved to have started their campaign with a win after Southampton showed that they were not going to be going to a final warm-up match after many thought that this game would be a massacre. Saints’ fans can take great heart from their performance however they will know that despite a heroic performance, they will be disappointed not to have taken a miraculous point back to the South Coast.
Raphael Salama, football correspondent