Niang 56 mins, Erasmus 82
- Match reports
- 14 July 2013 16:07
- Posted by @dclayton_mcfc
Manuel Pellegrini’s first game in charge ended in defeat as SuperSport United recorded a 2-0 win over the Blues in Pretoria.
City had their chances in an entertaining first-half but the hosts struck shortly after half-time through Mame Niang and the Blues were left feeling green as Kermit Erasmus added a late second to secure victory for the South Africans in the opening game of the Nelson Mandela Football Invitational.
The new boss opted to play two different sides in each half but there was little he could have learned of his troops during a 90 minutes that will at least have been a useful workout if nothing else.
Friendlies, particularly ones that are played at the beginning of pre-season, generally offer little in the way of excitement or insight.
Play is often disjointed, the team is chopped and changed and the fitness and match stamina often leaves much to be desired - as is the norm
...SuperSport 2 City 0
This game, however, had an edge to it – at least in the opening 45 minutes. There was bite in the tackles and purpose moving forward – from both teams – making this anything but a stroll around in the Pretoria sunshine.
Fernandinho was given a starting berth – as were both Denis Suarez and Abdul Razak – and Javi Garcia was given the opportunity to impress in defence. No doubt Pellegrini who will want a closer look at all of his squad in the coming weeks as he hones his squad.
In a bright opening, both City and Supersport could have scored inside the first five minutes with Edin Dzeko going close for the Blues and Joe Hart making a brave stop at the other end in the ensuing counter-attack.
The hosts were comfortable on the ball and confident enough to begin all their build-ups through short passes from their keeper, while City pressed and probed down either flank with Samir Nasri and Micah Richards eager to attack whenever possible.
Aleks Kolarov, too, threatened on occasion and a neat interchange with Dzeko saw him fire inches wide after 16 minutes. Then Dzeko, threaded through by Nasri, was denied by a fine double save by keeper Williams.
SuperSport continued to give as good as they got and Vincent Kompany made a clearance almost off his own line before rescuing his team again with a superb tackle after a fantastic move by the hosts almost brought the opening goal moments before the break.
Pellegrini changed the entire starting XI at the break and there were first glimpses of Emyr Huws and Shay Facey for many City fans as well as a welcome return to fitness for Scott Sinclair.
The mixture of experience and youth didn’t quite blend as well as it had in the first 45 and the Blues found themselves behind soon after the re-start when Niang thumped home a header from close range after several chances to clear the ball had been wasted.
And there was worse to come as Kermit Erasmus hopped through the Blues' makeshift defence to clinically seal the victory on 82 minutes with a low drive that gave Costel Pantilimon no chance.
That was the end of the scoring in a disappointing second period during which SuperSport also changed the majority of their starting line-up and despite City huffing and puffing and going close through James Milner and Yaya Toure, the home team deserved the victory.