City 2-0 Besiktas: Match Report
- 20 July 2012 19:26
- Posted by Chris Bailey in Innsbruck
Having spluttered through their opening two games the champions of England ended on a high in the Alps of Austria.
They took a while to materialise but when City’s first goals of the summer arrived they were a couple of gems and settled this feisty, rain-lashed contest.
The build-up to the first in the 44th minute owed much to a quick pass from Carlos Tevez and the tenacity of Abdul Razak whose refusal to buy a cheap free kick by hitting the deck allowed the ball to run on to Sergio Aguero who curled a beauty into the corner of the net.
Perhaps it was the mountain obscuring, slate grey and leaden sky that made the Blues look much perkier but more likely the extra week’s training in their legs.
There was an edge to it too with some tasty looking tackles and plenty of chat between the two sides.
Besiktas, driven forward by former Pompey and Everton midfielder Manuel Fernandes, looked dangerous when breaking at speed.
Both Mustafa Pektemek and the voluble Olcay Sahan showed decent pace and movement and it was only an eye-catching double save by Costel Pantilimon that kept the scores blank mid-way through the first half.
He needed all his giant frame to deny Fernandes first and then Sahan.
For the Blues, teenager Razak was hard to keep out of the action and all the defenders looked in decent form. Aleks Kolarov’s corners were, however, the most potent weapon until Aguero’s golden boot finally broke the summer duck after 224 minutes without a goal.
Thirteen times champions of Turkey Besiktas had won their previous encounter in Austria 4-2 against a local side so both teams started from a similar level of fitness. This was a decent test. The rhythmic urgings of the thousands of Turkish fans in the Tivoli Neu also made sure that their favourites didn’t slacken.
But the clapping and cheering was all for City skipper Vincent Kompany in the 56th minute when his powerful, expertly timed run and brilliantly executed chip doubled the Blues advantage. It was a sharp reminder that before he became one of the best central defenders in world football, the Belgian was a renowned midfielder.
Kompany’s reward for scoring was an early shower as he was immediately replaced by Stefan Savic and momentarily City lost their rhythm as Kavlak rapped a long range effort against the post with Pantilimon struggling.
There followed wholesale changes by Roberto Mancini as he gave the young players a taste of the action and saved the legs of the seniors.
The result was a largely disjointed final twenty minutes but a satisfying end to two weeks of hard work.
Next stop China.
City: Pantilimon, Zabaleta (Rekik 70m), Kolo Toure (Boyata 88m), Kompany (Savic57m), Kolarov (Helan 88), A. Johnson (Macini 88), Yaya Toure (Evans 75m), Razak, Lopes (Weiss 46m), Aguero (Jelavic 70m) and Tevez (Scapuzzi 64m)
Besiktas: (starting eleven): Gonen, Toraman, Gulum, Uysal, Pektemek, Akyuz, Kavlak, Fernandes, Hilbert, Sahan, Boral