MX23RW : Friday, June 18 06:02:15| >> :120:25559:25559:
Jul 24, 2013 at 1.30pm UK at Hong Kong Stadium
South ChinaSouth China Athletic Association
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Man CityManchester City
FT(HT: 0-1)
Dzeko (21')

Live Commentary: South China 0-1 Manchester City - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's coverage of the Barclays Asia Trophy clash between South China and Manchester City.
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Manchester City secured their first win under the management of Manuel Pellegrini with a 1-0 win over South China in the Barclays Asia Trophy.

City started under the Chilean with back-to-back defeats in South Africa to AmaZulu and Supersport United.

However, a goal from Edin Dzeko in the first half got their tour of Asia off the perfect start as they booked their place in the final of the tournament where they will face Sunderland on Saturday.

Follow how all the action unfolded in our commentary below.


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Welcome to live text commentary of today's Barclays Asia Trophy clash between South China and Manchester City in Hong Kong.

Manuel Pellegrini will be looking to see more from his side today following their two defeats in South Africa to AmaZulu and Supersport United ahead of the start of the Premier League in just three weeks time.

Today's clash will give City's new signings Stevan Jovetic, Alvaro Negredo, Fernandinho and Jesus Navas a chance to shine in a high profile tournament for the first time since joining the club.

It will be interesting to see what sort of condition the pitch at the Hong Kong Stadium is in following the earlier game between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland, after a torrential downpour earlier in the day.

Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen has already gone down with what looks to be a serious injury, and you have to wonder whether that will play any part in Pellegrini's team selection today.

It shall be curious to see how Pellegrini choose his lineup today and how much time he will give his new signings to gel. Negredo and Jovetic are yet to play for the club since making their moves from Sevilla and Fiorentina respectively, so the Chilean may give them time to find their feet, although on this pitch life could be tricky.

The teams are in and we'll start with City.

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Milner, Nasri, Barry, Fernandinho, Toure, Dzeko

City subs: Richards, Negredo, Sinclair, Kolarov, Garcia, Aguero, Rodwell, Pantilimon, Nastasic, Suarez, Boyata, Nimely, Huws, Razak.

So there's only a start for one of City's new signings as Fernandinho continues in midfield after starting in the games in South Africa.

There'a s strong backline for Pellegrini's side featuring captain Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott, Gael Clichy and Pablo Zabaleta, while there are also starts in midfield for Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure, James Milner, while Edin Dzeko rather than Sergio Aguero leads the line.

The winner of this game will face Sunderland in the final of the Asia Trophy on Saturday as they have just beaten Tottenham 3-1 in the opening fixture of the tournament.

Negredo finds a place on the City bench so there's a good chance we will see him at some point, but there's no place for Stevan Jovetic or Jesus Navas yet. Matija Nastasic, Jack Rodwell, Aleksander Kolarov, Scott Sinclair and Micah Richards are among the notable names available to Pellegrini as substitutes.

Formation: It looks certain that Pellegrini is going in with a 4-5-1 formation, although Toure will look to play just in behind Dzeko in the hole, while Milner and Nasri will operate on the flanks with Gareth Barry and Fernandinho patrolling the central midfield areas. The Chilean has the luxury of interchanging between Toure and Fernandinho in the hole, as both players are more than capable of plying their trade in that position.

Considering City's summer signings, it will be a big game for Dzeko. Yet again, it looks as though he will find himself down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium, but a performance here could give Pellegrini a selection headache going into the new season.

Manuel Pellegrini is speaking on the benefits on pre-season and how his new signings are fitting, he told Sky Sports News: [It is] "Very important we need to play a lot before we start the Premier League, not only in fitness. Fernandinho has been with us since the start of pre-season, Navas and Negredo, have just joined us but by the start of the season they should be in good form."

As was the case in the first game, the halves in this clash will be 40 minutes with an eight minute break at the interval. The pitch will only be in worse condition following the opening game, so don't expect a classic from this one.

South China XI: Zhang, Sealy, Tse, Joel, Kwok, Chak, Ticao, Cheng, Naves, Barry, Lei Wae Lim.

We finally get to see the South China team and they lineup in a 4-5-1 formation with Barry leading the line. Their midfield consists of Chak, Ticao, Naves, Cheng and Lei Wae Lim, while Sealy, Tse, Joel and Kwok make up the back four.

The players are out on the pitch and the pre-match handshakes have taken place and we should be underway shortly.

Just before kick-off, we're going to have a minute's applause for former Manchester City keeper Bert Trautmann, who passed away last week.

South China get us underway in this Barclays Asia Trophy match-up.

City are straight onto the ball and are playing possession football in the China half, and a large cheer erupts from the crowd as Sealy nips in against Dzeko with a challenge that wins the ball.

Nasri gets round the back of the defence and lifts a ball into the area, which is just too high for Dzeko as he looked to get on the end of the cross.

Calm start far from City as Milner gets the ball on the right flanks and lifts another cross into the area, but again the cross misses the large frame of Dzeko in the middle.

Heavy challenge on Zabaleta from Ticao, and a free kick is awarded. The full-back goes down and is prone for a couple of seconds before he gets to his feet.

Kwok deliberates too long on the ball and plays a backpass back to Zheng, which just has enough on it to reach the keeper as Dzeko lurked. That's the sort of pass you don't want to be making on this sodden pitch.

Nice defending from Joel, as Zabaleta and Milner link up down the right, but the defender comes across and blocks the England international's cross before it can reach it's target.

City are encamped on the edge of the South China box, but the hosts are holding their own and aren't allowing any penetration from Pellegrini's side.

China get in behind the City defence as Lescott loses his man, Lei Wae Lim tries to get the ball under control in the box but loses his footing at the worst possible moment and the chance is spurned.

City are looking controlled at the minute and are trying to get used to the pitch, which isn't helping their passing game. Not the best pitch to play fluent football on.

SHOT! Dzeko has the first crack at goal of the game, as he finds space in the box but his left-footed effort goes the wrong side of the post and into the side netting.

Milner and Zabaleta are linking up well down the right and this continues as the Argentine releases the former Aston Villa man but again just as the cross comes into the penalty area, Joel is there to clear the ball behind.

Two corners from the boot of Milner are well cleared by the China defence and given the fact, that City have giants such as Kompany, Toure and Dzeko in the penalty area, they've done well to escaped unharmed.

Milner gets played behind the defence again and he raids fowards and hits a low cross into the area for the run of Dzeko but it's the forward can't get his foot to the cross, as he is inches away from making contact.

SAVE!! Zheng makes a good save to deny Toure, as a cross from Milner comes into the area and this time Toure gets a head to ball but the keeper does well to get down low to his left to palm the ball away.

GOAL!!! South China 0-1 Manchester City (Dzeko)

City finally get a breakthrough and it's Dzeko who has got the goal with simple header at the backpost following another great run and cross into the area by Milner. The England international has been all over China in these early stages.

China showed a lot of spirit early on but that goal has really taken the wind out of their sails, City are upping the tempo and this could get out of hand should Pellegrini's side find their range in front of goal.

A challenge on Nasri earns City a free kick in a dangerous area, but Barry wastes the opportunity by firing an effort straight into the wall. Barry is another player who made a strong pre-season to get into consideration in his new manager's plans in the next campaign.

Milner almost finds a way through again but Kwok makes a crucial intervention to stop his back heeled pass from reaching the on rushing Zabaleta.

Fernandinho has been quiet so far for City, he hasn't seen a lot of the ball and they may have to look to make a conscious effort to bring him into the game, to see what he can produce.

The tempo of the game has dropped slightly in the last couple of minutes which won't please Pellegrini, the right side of his team has been dominant but it has been slightly pedestrian elsewhere.

Dzeko does well as he is fed the ball on the edge of the area and turns his man, he gets to the byline and drills an effort at goal but Tse gets across and diverts the ball out for a corner.

Again, South China do well to clear their lines from the resulting corner but the delivery from Nasri was far from convincing.

Toure wins the ball in midfield and drives forward between two players but just as he was the bear down on goal Tse comes across and makes a good tackle to stop the Ivorian in his tracks.

OFF THE BAR! Zabaleta raids down the right and Joel comes across with a sliding tackle, the ball loops up over Zheng and looks to be heading into the net, but it strikes the crossbar and bounces over.

Toure drives forward again and slips in a through ball for Dzeko only for the striker to be flagged offside.

HALF-TIME: South China 0-1 Manchester City

So Manchester City lead at the break thanks to a strike from Edin Dzeko. Manuel Pellegrini's side have been all over South China in the first half and should really be further ahead.

City have been far from fluent apart from James Milner and Pablo Zabaleta on the right, who have been dominant. Pellegrini will want to see a lot more from the other members of his team in the second half.

City will likely ring the changes at half-time but on this showing Pellegrini might want to keep some of his starters out there a bit longer despite the wet conditions.

The players are making their way back out onto the pitch and we should be underway shortly.

Manchester City get the second half underway in the Hong Kong Stadium.

CHANCE!! Nasri feeds Toure in the penalty area and he turns his man before firing a left-footed shot across the face of goal, which goes inches wide of the post. Better from City.

China raid down the right and City are short of numbers at the back as Martins breaks forward, he tries one trick too many and Kolarov is back to clear the danger.

Martins is causing problems for City again down the right, he lifts the ball into the area but Lescott clears, only as far as Sealy however, who shoots first time but his effort goes over.

Problems for City at the start of this half but Milner takes control of the ball and moves them back into South China territory to calm the tempo.

City win a free kick on the right and Milner delivers but again the cross is poor from a dead ball situation and China clear their lines. The delivery from set pieces from City today has been poor.

Half-time substitute Kolarov and Nasri combine down the left to good effect, the Frenchman lays off a pass for Toure but he goes down easily in the penalty area and the chance is spurned.

CHANCE!! Martins again causes havoc on the right for City and he bursts into the box and troubles Hart with a low cross but Fernandinho is there to clear before a South China player can react to the loose ball.

Substitutions: Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry come off for City and are replaced by Alvaro Negredo and Jack Rodwell.

City are struggling to raise the tempo, the blame could lie with the pitch but the players on show are hardly making things happen for Pellegrini's side.

Kolarov injects some pace down the left and lifts a cross to the backpost where Negredo waits for the ball, but Joel is there to head the ball away with a well timed jump.

Milner tries to make things happen as he tussles with Kwok on the right, he wins the ball and crosses into the penalty area but his cross sails over the head of Negredo and is cleared.

City are starting to create openings and Kolarov finds space down the left again, he crosses for Negredo who tries an acrobatic volley but his effort goes just over the bar.

SAVE!!! What a save from Zheng to deny Dzeko from close range. Negredo finds Dzeko in the area, he takes a touch to get the ball out of his feet and powers an effort at goal but the keeper makes a great reaction stop.

Substitution: Fernandinho comes off and is replaced by Javi Garcia.

Milner picks up a loose ball in the midfield and sees Zheng off his line and tries a long range effort, but the ball sails just over the bar. A good try from distance from the England international.

South China would have thought they would have been out of the game at this stage but they're hanging in there and could possibly sneak an equaliser.

Kompany handballs and referee Anthony Taylor awards a free kick in a dangerous position but effort from Martins clatters off the wall and goes out for a throw-in. A wasted opportunity there for the home side.

Lee Wae Lim breaks upfield for China and tries to get down the left but Milner, who seems to be everywhere for City, gets back at him, makes a challenge and wins the ball.

Dzeko playing in a deeper role makes an interception and releases Negredo down the middle, he tussles with Tse and crosses the ball but Joel is there again to head the ball behind.

Substitutions: Micah Richards and Scott Sinclair join the action as they replace Pablo Zabaleta and Vincent Kompany.

Another poor delivery from a corner from City but Michah Richards goes up for the cross and appears to hurt himself in a clash with Tse, he looks ok to continue despite having a cut lip.

South China try one last attack at the City goal as Martins tries to weave his way through the defence with the aid of Barry but Kompany gets a foot in and the Citizens clear the danger.

FULL-TIME: South China 0-1 Manchester City

Manchester City book their place in the Barclays Asis Trophy final on Saturday, where they will face Sunderland, after Edin Dzeko's decisive goal.

Manuel Pellegrini will be pleased with the victory but his side were far from convincing as South China gave them a difficult game. The pitch may also have played a part as the sodden conditions didn't allow City to play a fast moving passing game.

Of the new boys that played for City, Fernandinho had a quiet afternoon, while Alvaro Negredo had brief moments after coming on as a second half substitute. Hopefully we'll see more of them on Saturday following City's spending spree to land them along with Jesus Navas and Stevan Jovetic.

James Milner was by far the best player on show today and he will be looking to repeat this type of performance in the remaining pre-season games to help his cause for a starting place come the start of the Premier League campaign.

Thanks for joining our live commentary today, be sure to join us for the rest of our coverage of the Barclays Asia Trophy on Saturday. Until then, goodbye.

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