Match Report

City end tour with Atletico defeat in rain-soaked Seoul

City end tour with Atletico defeat in rain-soaked Seoul
Sun 30 Jul
Ruben Dias 

Memphis Depay 
Yannick Carrasco 
View highlights
Manchester City completed our pre-season tour of Asia with a 2-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid in Seoul.

An intensely hot and humid few days in South Korea turned to heavy rain on the evening of the game, meaning kick-off at the World Cup Stadium was delayed by 40 minutes.

The game did eventually get going in front of more than 64,000 passionate fans, overwhelmingly in sky blue.

Although both sides contributed to an entertaining encounter, it was second-half strikes from Memphis Depay and Yannick Carrasco that won it for Diego Simeone's team.

Ruben Dias' 84th minute header pulled one back for City but it wasn't enough in the end.

After victories over Yokohama F. Marinos and Bayern Munich in Japan earlier on the trip, Pep Guardiola’s team will now leave Asia to prepare for next Sunday’s Community Shield.

What happened

A deluge throughout the early evening left standing water in areas of the World Cup Stadium pitch, delaying the start of the game.

As the rain slowed, the surface drained and, following a pitch inspection, a kick-off 40 minutes after the original start time was agreed.

When the two sides eventually emerged to warm up, they were greeted by rapturous cheers on all four sides of the arena.

By the start of the game, the pitch appeared in decent order with the ball rolling and bouncing as expected.

It was City who made most use of those facilities in the first 20 minutes, with the pick of the chances falling to Erling Haaland.

The Norwegian’s strike was pouched by Jan Oblak but gave a hint that City – and the Korean fans forced to wait for the weather to clear – were up for it.

Diego Simeone has achieved incredible success with Atletico since taking over as manager in 2011. By this point, his methods are clear and well understood.

His side have always sat back and soaked up pressure before looking to make the most of breaks and set pieces. This match was no different.

City were neat and tidy in possession, with Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez in particular linking up nicely in the pockets.

However, determined defending meant countless opportunities were snuffed out before shots could reach the goalkeeper.

Alvaro Morata was guilty of missing Atletico's best chance of the first half, glancing a header over from just a few yards out on the half hour mark.

City immediately returned the ball to the other end and Foden, cutting across the pitch from an inside right position, struck a shot that was inches away from the opener.

In contrast to the previous two games in Asia, Guardiola made just the one change at half-time as Stefan Ortega Moreno took the place of Ederson.

Ortega Moreno was almost immediately busy, scooping a scuffed attempt at a close range conversion off his line and away from goal just three minutes into the second half.

Those wholesale changes instead came almost 10 minutes into the second half, with the entire backline and midfield switching out.

That was not before Kyle Walker struck the bar with a deflected thunderous drive from all of 30 yards.

Atletico's team changed significantly just beyond the hour mark, a few minutes after City.

That seemed to inspire them into action and it was only another three minutes before substitute Memphis Depay hammered the Spanish team into the lead from 20 yards.

The Dutch international will feel he should have had a second minutes later when an incisive Atletico break ended with a sweeping shot from 12 yards that Ortega Moreno was equal to.

The German goalkeeeper was powerless to stop the next shot on his goal however, as Yannick Carrasco cut in from the left and hit a dipping effort out of his reach.

City rallied for the final throws and Ruben Dias, one of only two City men to play the whole match, grabbed a consolation with a thumping header in the 84th minute.


CITY XI: Ederson (Ortega Moreno 45), Walker (C) (Cancelo 54), Stones (Akanji 54), Dias, Laporte (Gomez 54), Rodrigo (Phillips 54), Bernardo (Kovacic 54), Foden (Lewis 54), Grealish (McAtee 54), Alvarez, Haaland (Bobb 54)

Subs: Carson, Ake, De Bruyne, Perrone, Palmer

ATLETICO MADRID XI: Oblak (Grbic 45), Azpilicueta, Soyuncu, Witsel (Kostis 61), Hermoso (Carrasco 61), De Paul (Barrios 61), Koke (C) (Niguez 61), Lemar (Correa 61), Griezmann (Riquelme 61), Lino (Llorente 61), Morata (Depay 61)

Subs: Correa, Galan, Gomis, Gismera, Martin, Mourino


High Spirits

After high temperatures in Seoul since we landed on Thursday evening, the weather suddenly took a turn a few hours before the game.

The torrent appeared relentless and the puddles forming on the pitch put the encounter in doubt.

However, it did relent and the drainage worked wonders in order to create conditions for a game.

The circumstances were similar to those 12 months prior, when our friendly with Bayern Munich at Green Bay's Lambeau Field was affected by storms.

On that occasion, an electrical storm had delayed kick-off and caused a further stoppage during play.

However, fans in attendance still got an entertaining game of football. As they did here.

South Korea has shown incredible passion for City this week and the 64,185 fans lucky enough to be in the stadium created a unique atmosphere.

Every moment of skill was greeted by sounds of appreciation, every chance cheered and every break in play filled by an enthusiastic public announcer.

With all four sides of the ground emphatically blue and white, it felt like a City home match with a difference.

What's next

City return to Manchester overnight in order to continue preparations for the upcoming 2023/24 campaign.

Pep Guardiola's squad will have the full week to prepare for next Sunday's Community Shield clash with Arsenal at Wembley Stadium.

That match is a 16.00 (UK) start.

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