Men's Team

Pre-season classics: Five of the best

audi cup 2013
City begin their pre-season fixtures on Wednesday evening against Bayern Munich so here we look at five unforgettable friendlies from recent years…

Here are the best five - in no particular order...

City 5 AC Milan 3

One of the craziest first-halves you could ever witness, the rampant Blues were 5-0 up with barely half-an-hour played in the Audi Cup match played at the Allianz Arena.

Goals from David Silva, Micah Richards, Aleks Kolarov and a quick-fire double from Edin Dzeko put City out of sight in no time at all – but then Milan scored three times in eight minutes to reduce the arrears and end a first period that had supporters standing to applaud both sides off at the break.

Typically, the second period was 0-0!

It was a fantastic game and new boss Manuel Pellegrini was especially pleased with some his new signings – Stevan Jovetic among them – who had played their part in this rollercoaster match.

City 2 Barcelona 1, 2003

The curtain-raiser for what was then the City of Manchester Stadium was always going to be special and fondly remembered.

With the top tier not officially ready to be opened, a capacity crowd of 36,000 watched Kevin Keegan’s City edge a 2-1 win over Barcelona.

Nicolas Anelka scored the opening goal on 38 minutes before Javier Saviola became the first opposing player to score at the Blues’ new home after 58.

Nine minutes later, Trevor Sinclair scored what proved to be the winning goal but the loudest cheer of the day was when Ronaldinho was substituted and received a standing ovation from the City fans – not because of a decent performance, but because he’d just turned down a move to United!

LA Galaxy 1 City 1, 2011

Two stand-out moments from this game against LA Galaxy are still remembered from a game that would have otherwise been quickly forgotten.

The Mario miss and the Hart penalty – that’s about the size of it!

Balotelli’s moment of – genius/wastefulness/indulgence (delete as applicable) was quintessential Mario as he approached the LA Galaxy goal before turning his back in a pirouette and back-heeling the ball wide!

Boss Roberto Mancini was livid and subbed him shortly after, though Mario pointed out the offside was flag was raised – whether he saw that prior to the ‘moment’ is another question completely!

The game went to a penalty shoot-out and Joe Hart thumped home the winning spot-kick with a confidence that suggests he could probably do the role full-time.

Chelsea 3 City 5, 2013

Another crazy yet wonderful friendly, this time played as part of the 2012/13 post-season tour in New York.

The Blues opened up a 2-0 lead by the break thanks to goals from Gareth Barry and Samir Nasri before Ramires pulled one back seconds after the re-start.

James Milner restored the Blues’ two-goal advantage – but Ramires again pegged back City before a stunning strike from Nasri made it 4-2.

With almost 40,000 Yankee Stadium fans lapping up the entertainment and there was still time for Juan Mata to bag a third for Chelsea and Edin Dzeko to slam home the Blues’ fifth. Phew!

Arsenal 0 City 2, 2012

A historic first City friendly in the Bird’s Nest Arena saw City defeat Arsenal 2-0.

Played in front of a huge crowd, Pablo Zabaleta scored the opening goal on 41 minutes as boss Mancini experimented with a 3-5-2 formation.

Three minutes later, Yaya Toure scored a second to give the Blues a comfortable victory played in bursts of torrential rain.


Tour games:

Bayern Munich v City, Wednesday, 20 July (Munich)

City v United, Monday, 25 July, (Beijing)

City v Dortmund, Thursday, 28 July, (Shenzhen)

Arsenal v City, Sunday, 7 August, (Gothenburg)

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