EDS & Academy

EDS on song in stylish first win

EDS on song in stylish first win
Barclays U21 Premier League
Barclays U21 Premier League
Mon 26 Aug
Patrick Vieira’s Elite Development Squad enjoyed a very happy Bank Holiday Monday with a 3-0 win over Everton at the Etihad Stadium.

Under the watchful eyes of Manuel Pellegrini, Vincent Kompany and Txiki Begiristain in the stands, City produced a performance of the highest quality to claim their first Barclays u21 Premier League points of the season.

Two goals from Albert Rusnak and one from Marcos Lopes in a devastating 10 minute spell in the first-half did the damage on a morale-boosting afternoon for the club.

Without a win from their first two games, it was hoped that playing at the Etihad Stadium would provide inspiration for a first win of the season at under-21 level.

Patrick Vieira’s XI showed five changes from the team that went down to a 6-3 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur last Monday.

In came Ian Lawlor, Shay Facey, Ellis Plummer, Seko Fofana and Rusnak for the game against an Everton side that had won one and lost one so far in the league.

In the absence of regular captain Mathias Bossaerts, Marcos Lopes skippered the side at a stadium where the young tyro has plenty of happy memories.

Of course the Portuguese u19 international became the club’s youngster-ever goalscorer there in January 2013 and weighed in with another on the same stage in the FA Youth Cup in the same week.

Vieira’s counterpart, Alan Stubbs, named a young Toffees selection which included former City striker Hallam Hope, Greece u21 international Apostolos Vellios and France u21 winger Magaye Gueye.

City made a positive start to the game and immediately set about pinning Everton back into their own defensive third.

Rusnak was a malevolent presence, buzzing in around behind Jordy Hiwula, dovetailing with Sinan Bytyqi to good effect and whipping in crosses which asked questions of the visitors.

When City took a deserved lead after 20 minutes, it was no surprise that the Slovakian was responsible.

After a lengthy spell of intense pressure around the Everton penalty area, Rusnak took a touch to get the ball out of his feet and drilled an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner, beyond the despairing reach of Mateus Taudul.

Four minutes later, City doubled their advantage courtesy of Marcos Lopes, who bagged his third goal in three appearances at the Etihad Stadium and his second of the season with a powerful shot from 12 yards which squirmed under the body of Taudul.

It was an incredible start from City who were playing with swagger and a ruthlessness in front of goal which has perhaps been missing in the opening weeks of the season, costing them points in games they’ve dominated.

It got even better after half an hour when Rusnak doubled his tally with a goal all of Facey’s making.

The full-back beat his man and did well to pick out the unmarked Slovakian in the area and he made no mistake with a rifled strike past Taudul.

Everton were in danger of being swept away by a magnificent first-half display from the home side but they steadied the ship and almost grabbed a goal back courtesy of Chris Long who hit the post as if to remind City of the threat they could pose if allowed back into the game.

But it wasn’t just the attacking football that caught the eye on a balmy afternoon in East Manchester, also the work at the other end where City had clearly tightened things up, only allowing that effort on goal in the first 45.

At half-time, first-team skipper Kompany visited the dressing room to congratulate the players on an excellent showing and there's no doubt he would have approved of the way City approached the task of getting over the line.

The visitors made a couple of changes at half-time get back into the game and they seemed to do the trick as they made a much improved start to the second period.

Second-half substitute Courtney Duffus was close to reducing the arrears but he just couldn’t quite meet Jonjoe Kenny’s precise cross.

There were plenty of stoppages in play after the break which took their toll on the game as a spectacle.

Although City couldn’t quite match the dizzying first-half highs after the break going forward, they did showcase their tactical nous to kill off the game and close ranks to record their first clean sheet of the season.

City return to action on 13 September when they travel to Upton Park take on West Ham.

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