1-0 (Barry 16), 2-1 (Bellamy 51)
1-1 (Killen 23)
- Match reports
- 08 August 2009 17:06
- Posted by Tim Oscroft
City’s pre-season preparations came to a close with a good win and performance against Celtic. Gareth Barry’s first goal for the club was cancelled out by Chris Killen, but Craig Bellamy restored the lead not long after half-time. It was a good work-out for many of the squad, and the crowd were delighted to see Carlos Tevez get his first action as a City player. The Argentinean played for the last 25 minutes and showed no signs of his recent heel injury hampering him.
Mark Hughes named another strong side for this final warm-up game of the summer. Pablo Zabaleta was in for Richards at right back, SWP came back in place of Etuhu ahead of Pablo, and Craig Bellamy started instead of Adebayor.
Former Blues Georgios Samaras, Willo Flood and Chris Killen lined up against their old club.
We got going on a balmy afternoon with Celtic sporting their dazzling black and Day-Glo-yellow (or lime green?) hooped away kit. Backed by their 5,000 passionate and noisy fans (boasting their own version of the Tevez ‘Welcome to Manchester’ poster....), it all added up to a good atmosphere to start the season off.
The opening 14 minutes were open and entertaining enough, but it was City who got their noses in front after a neat move started by Toure. The defender fed Zabalata, who crossed instantly to Gareth Barry, who slipped in unnoticed to slide the ball home with his left from close range. Unfortunately for Toure, that was his last contribution of the day, and after looking in some discomfort following a challenge a minute later he was replaced by Tal Ben-Haim.
Shay Given’s fine save to deny O’Dea at a corner served notice that Celtic were up for a fight, and they proved that after 23 minutes when two of their former City players combined to help level the scores. The ball was lost in midfield and played over the top by Georgios Samaras to Chris Killen, who was onside and drilled the ball past Given from just inside the area, a nice moment for the Kiwi striker.
Robinho had featured sporadically, and his best moment came on 37 minutes when he cut inside to the middle and let fly from outside the area, but the fall faded to the right and Zaluska had nothing to worry about.
The Blues had the better of the final minutes of the first period, with Ireland’s bustling run ending with a pass to Robinho, who was hustled off the ball – story of his afternoon. As we entered stoppage time, Bellamy shaped to shoot, but was not allowed to get a chance against his old club.
Nigel de Jong was replaced by Emmanuel Adebayor after half time as Mark Hughes took another look at his options and with one eye on this week’s internationals as well, no doubt.
City went ahead six minutes in to the second period when a sublime pass with the outside of the left from Bridge landed perfectly for Craig Bellamy, who cut one way, then the other before firing the ball across Zaluska into the bottom corner. As with the Liverpool game at Anfield last season, the striker showed his class by not overdoing the celebrations against a former club.
Two-thirds of Celtic’s old Blues contingent could have helped level the game just a couple of minutes later, Killen getting down the right hand side of the box to get a cross in that just eluded Georgios Samaras.
Biggest cheer of the day came on 66 minutes when Carlos Tevez took off his training top and came onto the pitch as a City player for the first time, replacing Craig Bellamy in the process. Celtic’s fans were not as happy to see him, and a minute later they should have seen a goal in front of them when McDonald’s free header at a corner flew over Given’s bar.
Tony Mowbray made a host of substitutions as time began to run out, but one of the replacements, Daniel Fox, made Given work with a whipped in free kick on 80 minutes. The final spell passed quietly, at least on the pitch, with Ferry unleashing a shot that went well wide in stoppage time.
Gareth Barry was named man of the match, a popular choice after his goal and a typically influential performance.