Hiwula 14, Suarez 49, Scapuzzi 73, Hiwula 88
- Match reports
- 24 August 2012 20:50
- Posted by Mark Booth
City recorded their first victory of the new Barclays U21 Premier League campaign, defeating Middlesbrough 4-0 in an impressive display.
Two goals from Jordy Hiwula and strikes from Luca Scapuzzi and a Denis Suarez penalty were enough to see off the challenge of the North East visitors.
Turnstiles were thrown open to City fans to attend the Etihad Stadium free of charge for the opening home match of the 2012/13 U21s season and 1,639 fanstook advantage of this opportunity to watch some of City’s fledgling stars, filling up level one of the West Stand to create a great atmosphere.
After the first-team’s latest heart-attack inducing performance against Southampton, it was perhaps a relief to enjoy a calmer evening of football, as City played out a comfortable 4-0 victory.
One of the star attractions on show was Gareth Barry, who continued his comeback from an abdominal problem with an important 45 appearance – his first game at the stadium since the final day of last season.
Captaining this veteran who has amassed 53 caps across European Championships and World Cups was 17-year old George Evans, a lifelong City fan who must have been pinching himself as he led out the team.
An extra week on the training ground seemed to have done Lombardo’s side the power of good as the movement, the passing and general direction of City’s attacks felt even more precise than in last week’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea.
Last season’s top scorer Hiwula gave the Blues the lead after 14 minutes, dispossessing the Middlesbrough centre back before rounding Connor Ripley in the visitor’s goal and slotting into the empty net.
Manchester’s heavens opened shortly after the first goal which suited City’s slick passing game and their attacking trident of Lopes, Suarez and Rusnak buzzed mischievously, attempting to plot a course through the Middlesbrough defence.
Middlesbrough’s best chance of the half came in its final minute, courtesy of Kneeshaw who would have surely converted from close range but for an interception by the impressive Ryan McGivern who threw his body on the line to great effect.
Barry was withdrawn at half-time with no obvious reaction to his exertions and Italian forward Scapuzzi took his place, with Suarez dropping deeper into midfield.
Scapuzzi was immediately involved, bringing down a fantastic long pass from Suarez, dinking it over his marker before being pulled back, giving the referee no option but to point to the penalty spot.
Suarez’s compatriot David Silva failed to convert from spot in the first-team’s last match here but Denis made no mistake, calmly sending the keeper the wrong way to double the lead.
In the 65th minute City stretched their lead – this time Scapuzzi headed in a corner for his first goal of the season, capping an impressive second half showing from the striker.
The win was rounded off in style in the 88th minute when Hiwula helped himself to his second goal of the night, finding himself a yard before firing past Ripley.
City now have four points from their opening two games and will face PSG in the NextGen Series on Thursday at Hyde FC.