1-0 (Novo). 2-2 (Miller 53), 3-2 (Weir 90)
1-1 (Ireland 27), 1-2 (Petrov 52)
- Match reports
- 05 August 2009 20:43
- Posted by Tim Oscroft
Mark Hughes named a strong side, with Barry partnering Ireland in midfield, while Dunne and Toure got their first pairing since the Ivorian’s arrival last week.
Rangers sported some familiar faces; Lee McCulloch scored against City for Wigan a few seasons back, Steven Davis was in the Premier League with Villa & Fulham and Pedro Mendes, whose goals against City in 2007 kick-started Portsmouth’s successful battle against relegation, was in midfield. The ‘Gers bench boasted DaMarcus Beasley, who spent the 2006/07 season with City on loan, and the American greeted our legendary kit man, Les Chapman, with a bear-hug as the home side began to warm up.
Early evening sunshine helped make the famous old stadium and its superb pitch look in great nick ahead of our penultimate pre-season fixture, which saw City don their new black away kit for the first time.
The hosts stroked it around for most of the opening spell, but it was City who had the first shot on target, Stephen Ireland’s effort after a Barry corner bouncing up off the springy turf and forcing Alexander into a save. Robinho was put in by Bridge from the left on 13 minutes, but his shot with the outside of the right boot was well blocked by Bougherra. Adebayor’s effort from distance seconds later was saved with ease by Alexander after skimming the surface.
The home fans really came to life on 18 minutes after a mistake from Kolo Toure in the middle of his own half saw the ball fed out to Nacho Novo, but he snatched at the chance and the ball rolled wide of the post and went nearer to the corner flag.
But the popular striker made amends at Rangers’ next chance, just two minutes later, when he rammed the ball past Shay Given from just inside the area to put City behind.
Robinho had the ball in the net within seconds, but he had not seen the linesman’s flag as he looped it over Alexander. The Brazilian was on the floor inside the area two minutes later, but the referee ignored his penalty claims. Miller was nearly put in by Novo within seconds, but Dunne was in the right place at the right time to clear the danger.
The crowd were on Robinho’s back after the penalty claim, but on 27 minutes he ignored them and had a hand in City’s equaliser. His cross went to Adebayor, who neatly rolled into the path of Stephen Ireland - he stepped away from a defender to the right before placing his shot precisely back across Alexander’s right hand and into the far corner of the net. Cue a chorus of “Ireland is Superman” from our fans at the far end.
Adebayor and Robinho linked up again shortly afterwards, the Togolese striker laying it off to the Brazilian, but after his shot floated wide of the left hand post he apologised to Ireland, who had moved into a decent position on his blind side.
It was fairly quiet for the rest of the half - the nearest we came to another goal was when Papac made an excellent challenge to deny Adebayor just as the striker was pulling the trigger.
You would not have thought it was a friendly with the way Rangers burst out of the traps for the second half, with the crowd stoking it up by lustily booing Given at every chance. Whittaker was denied by a fine tackle from Wayne Bridge. City’s stopper would not have had a chance had Kenny Miller made a better connection to Novo’s cross three minutes in, but luckily for us the ball ballooned a long way over from inside the six-yard box.
But City soaked it all up and eight minutes in took the lead. Robinho floated the ball over to Martin Petrov, who burst in from the left and smacked the ball across and past Alexander. The Bulgarian celebrated his goal with the City fans in the corner at that end, but their joy did not last long! Barely a minute later, and just after Given had pulled off a fine save to his left to deny Davis, Kenny Miller latched onto a ball over from the same player, and with Shay advancing he dinked the ball over the City keeper to level the scores.
Both sides made a host of substitutions as both managers looked to try out different combinations. Craig Bellamy’s time at Parkhead was not forgotten by the home fans, who gave him a predictably hostile reception when he came on for Adebayor.
Robinho was also off as time began to run out, and his replacement, Vladimir Weiss, nearly put Kolo Toure in after a fine run, but the Ivorian’s poked effort was blocked at the last second.
The Slovakian’s fine ball over to Petrov with a minute left gave the Bulgarian a sniff of a winner, but his pass back across could not get be finished off by Bellamy.
But there was a sting in the tail to this fine game, and unfortunately for City not the one they wanted. A corner conceded in stoppage time came back out to David Weir, who volleyed an unstoppable shot past Shay Given for a dramatic winner.
Not what we deserved at all, but Mark Hughes will look to a good overall performance as we fine tune things before the start of the Premier League season.