Blues defeat Roma in Melbourne
By Ric Turner, Tue 21 July 2015 13:38
Manchester City 2 A.S. Roma 2 (City win 5-4 on penalties)
City have beaten A.S. Roma 5-4 on penalties in their opening game of the International Champions Cup in Melbourne. The game finished 2-2 in normal time, and goalkeeper Joe Hart saved the decisive spot kick from Seydou Keita to secure victory.
The Blues took an early lead through Raheem Sterling, who calmly slotted home just two minutes into his City debut following a through ball from the impressive Kelechi Iheanacho. Roma quickly responded through a stunning strike from Miralem Pjanic, with the Bosnian firing an unstoppable shot past Willy Caballero from 25 yards out.
David Silva was in majestic form for City, and his link-up play with both Sterling and Iheannacho bodes well for the season ahead. Manu Garcia, the seventeen year old Spaniard, also impressed in midfield.
As expected, half time brought a raft of changes with Manuel Pellegrini making nine substitutions. Iheanacho and captain Vincent Kompany were the only players to retain their places, and it was the Nigerian forward who gave City the lead five minutes into the second half. The young striker latched onto Ashley Cole's mishit back pass, and finished neatly past Morgan De Sanctis.
Fellow youngsters Jason Denayer, Marcos Lopes and Brandon Barker also impressed in the second half, with Lopes coming close to extending City's lead following a neat link-up with Jesus Navas. However, three minutes from time Yaya Toure was adjujged to have foouled Nainggolan on the edge of the box, and Adem Ljajic gave Joe Hart little chance with the resulting free kick to send the game to penalties.
Aleksandar Kolarov fired his spot kick high and wide to put Roma in the driving seat, but Hart cooly scored a penalty before saving Seydou Doumbia's audacious attempt to send the shoot out to sudden death. James Horsfield scored, and Hart saved from Keita to secure the win for Manuel Pellgrini's side.