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By Doug Higginbottom, Wed 07 March 2012 14:47
Classic British weather today. Cold when I arrived with quite a strong wind making it feel bitter, then the rain arrived and in no time the sun came out and it was springtime. The players were calling for gloves and extra layer and then throwing gear all over the place. I think they should enjoy Lisbon where they are staying for an extra day before returning straight to Cardiff on Saturday.Photo opportunity day today for the press. There werent many at the start but the numbers grew to about a dozen by the end. The players had jogged away and were doing keep ball circles at a good distance from the cameras and I was just glad to be in a dug out sheltered from the wind and rain. They went through some of the usual games to get going and a stunning Aguero goal in the small nets, drilled low from a 20 yard angle, was the highlight.A few mores exercises followed before the game at the end which seemed to start in a very calm quiet way compared to the usual intensity I see. But then it got going with Joe in great action saving first from Sergio and then Silva. Kolarov thought he had a pen when Kolo brought him down but despite intimidation from Yaya, Lombardo only gave a free kick. Then from driving rain it changed to a sunny day and the game really picked up.Still defences were on top and one tussle between Lescott and Dzeko was immense with Joleon just winning this one. Joe saved superbly from Sergio again, this time with his feet before Silva hit the post and again I think Joe got a hand to it. As the game was picking up Nigel took out Sergio, Joleon took Gael but both just about survived in tact.Finally Milner scored from a loose ball, despite loud offside appeals. Barry just missed after a lighting break down the right (ok fairly quick break). Mario just missed Edin with a pass when he was clear, then he scored but was given offside. Sergio got his own back on Nigel before Nasri made a great break to finish first time to make it 1-1. Golden goal time now and Mario went close twice and had a good effort saved. It seemed inevitable that he would score and he did at the near post with a flick from a Clichy cross.That ended it all and in they went.22 degrees in Lisbon so they will enjoy that.