Manchester City began pre-season with a 5-3 comeback victory over Yokohama F. Marinos at a sold-out Japan National Stadium in Tokyo.

Anderson Lopes and Ken Matsubara gave the J1 League champions a two-goal advantage before John Stones and Julian Alvarez levelled ahead of half-time.


Two second-half strikes from Erling Haaland and another from Rodrigo earned Pep Guardiola’s side the result over our CFG sister club in the first of three fixtures during our tour of Asia.

Kenta Inoue had pulled one back for our Japanese counterparts in the dying minutes but it was Haaland’s second that added gloss to the final score.

Guardiola opted to change all 10 outfielders at the break, with 21 players featuring on the night and only Stefan Ortega Moreno playing the whole match.

61,618 spectators were packed into the magnificent arena, with sky blue City shirts dominating the stands other than a noisy pocket of Yokohama F. Marinos loyals.

What happened

The J1 League champions had the first sight of goal, nicking the ball in midfield and driving at Ortega Moreno’s box but eventually blazing a shot over.

Our first shot in anger came from the left boot of Cole Palmer.

The winger cut in from the right, played a one-two and drilled an effort at the near post that was well saved by Jun Ichimori in the Yokohama goal.

F. Marinos took the lead moments later with a left-footed strike of their own. Anderson Lopes raced in behind City’s defence and snatched at his first effort with his right foot.

A strong parry from Ortega Moreno kept the shot out but returned it to the feet of the Brazilian forward, who tucked it home from around 12 yards.

Kalvin Phillips had the opportunity for an equaliser but his sweeping shot from 18 yards was held comfortably by Ichimori.

The Blues were made to pay in the 37th minute when right-back Ken Matsubara broke beyond our defence and slid the ball past Ortega Moreno.

That sparked City into life and the lead was halved within three minutes, courtesy of John Stones.

The centre-back curled home from just inside the area after a Kyle Walker cut back found the feet of Julian Alvarez, who laid it off to the England international.

The scores were level before the break when Julian Alvarez pounced on a mistake by Ichimori – passing the ball into the advancing Phillips – to find the net.

Pep Guardiola made 10 changes at half-time, with only goalkeeper Stefan Ortega Moreno returning after the break.

Erling Haaland was one of those players brought into the action and he didn’t waste much time before making an impact.

Just seven minutes after coming on, the Norwegian swivelled in the area and turned the ball home to give City a 3-2 lead.

Oscar Bobb was another half-time addition. The Norwegian-born 20-year-old has been pivotal in our last two Premier League 2 titles.

He was given the opportunity on the right wing for the second half of this game and proved a menace throughout.

One particular curling effort just beyond the hour mark needed to be tipped wide brilliantly before an offside flag was raised.

Rodrigo, the hero in City’s Champions League final success six weeks ago, made it four with a curling effort from the edge of the box.

Substitute striker Kenta Inoue found himself on the scoresheet in the final few minutes, capitalising on a moment of indecision in the City backline.

However, the Blues responded with an Erling Haaland tap-in from a Joao Cancelo cross to seal the win against a side in peak condition and again challenging at the top of the table in the J1 League.


CITY XI: Ortega Moreno, Walker (C) (Cancelo 45), Stones (Dias 45), Akanji (Laporte 45), Ake (Lewis 45), Phillips (Rodrigo 45), Kovacic (Foden 45), McAtee (Bernardo 45 - Perrone 75), Palmer (Bobb 45), Grealish (Gomez 45), Alvarez (Haaland 45)

Subs: Ederson, Carson, De Bruyne

YOKOHAMA F. MARINOS XI: Ichimori, Matsubara, Hatanaka, Eduardo, Nagato, Watanabe, Kida, Junior, Mizunuma, Lopes, Elber

Subs: Iikura, Shirasaka, Kanijima, Saneto, Yoshio, Yamane, Kimura, Sakakibara, Uenaka, Inoue, Matheus, Miyaichi, Murakami, Sugimoto

Pep Guardiola reaction

“It was a good test for us because we don’t have enough preparation and Yokohama played really well on the transitions,” he said.

“It was good for us. Many things we can improve of course, and no one is injured, which is the most important thing. Now we rest and prepare for Bayern Munich.”

Man of the match

Erling Haaland made the difference in the way he so often did last season.

The record breaking scorer finds the back of the net with apparent ease and that was the case again here, slotting the ball home just seven minutes after coming on.

That was the first time City had been in the lead on the night and we wouldn’t surrender it from there.

The Norwegian also had the final say on the night, tapping home at the back post to score City’s fifth and the game’s eighth.

Mateo’s first match

The former Inter, Real Madrid and Chelsea midfielder arrives at City with an incredible CV.

In his first game at the Club, he took up a position on the left of a midfield three that also included James McAtee and Kalvin Phillips.

The Croatian, famed for his tirelessness and close control, made several bursts in behind the defence of the current Japanese champions.

That willingness to run could become a key part of City’s weaponry as he becomes more accustomed to the movements of his team-mates.

What’s next

City return to the Japan National Stadium on Wednesday 26 July to face Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. That match kicks off at 11:30 (UK) and is live on CITY+ and Recast for viewers in the UK and Germany.

That will be our last game in Japan before we move on to Seoul to face Atletico Madrid next Sunday.

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