Chelsea vs. Manchester City: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
The two English Premier League squads competed at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, home of the Cardinals, as part of a United States tour. They will also compete in New York City later in the week.
While this was just a friendly, there was plenty of excitement from the local fans. Here is a look at the sold-out crowd in attendance at the match (via Joe Cummings of the NSCAA):
Busch Stadium is sold out for Chelsea-Man City friendly! Stadium is beautiful and field crew did a fantastic job! twitter.com/nscaaCEO/statu…— Joe Cummings (@nscaaCEO) May 24, 2013
Fortunately, the fans were treated to a great showing in the match by two of the top teams in the entire world.
What do you think about this American tour?
While City controlled possession for much of the first half, it was Chelsea that was the first to get on the board.
In the 22nd minute, Juan Mata brought the ball up the pitch on a counterattack. He crossed it to the middle, and Demba Ba was able to finish with a header to put his side up 1-0. It appeared Joe Hart had a chance at stopping the attack, but the goalkeeper could not get his hand up in time.
Chelsea was then able to extend the lead just before halftime. Mata was aggressive in the box, and he ended up being fouled by Karim Rekik in 45th minute to set up a penalty shot.
César Azpilicueta took the shot and fired it past the keeper on the bottom right part of the net to make the match 2-0.
By the end of the first half, Manchester City had taken 16 shots but were unable to get on the scoreboard and went into intermission trailing by two.
The second half featured a number of sub changes not normally found in a competitive match, but the friendly allowed each manager to get a look at more players. Eventually, it completely turned things around in this one.
Oscar came in for Chelsea and added to the lead off a mistake by the opposing defense. After being one-on-one with the keeper, he scored to make it 3-0 in favor of the Blues.
This score stood until finally Javi Garcia was able to put one in the back of the net on a deflection from a corner kick to make it 3-1. Of course, this was after Petr Cech had already subbed out of the match.
However, the goal fueled Manchester City and the club was soon able to cut the lead in half with a goal by Edin Dzeko. James Milner made a great pass and Dzeko was able to catch up to it for his side's second score of the match.
Later in the half, Dzeko received a pass from Carlos Tevez hit it toward the net on one touch. It went into the back of the net to give City the equalizing goal in the 85th minute.
The comeback was then completed when Micah Richards scored the game-winning goal in the 90th minute. Manchester City took its first lead of the match in dramatic fashion and it won 4-3.
Tom Ackerman of KMOX 1200AM described the scene after the final goal:
Manchester City rallies from three-goal deficit.Fans bonkers.McDermott bonkers.— Tom Ackerman (@Ackerman1120) May 24, 2013
While the match means little on paper, it was a great performance from both sides and it gave the fans plenty to cheer for on the day.
These two squads recently completed solid seasons and are looking forward to the summer. Manchester City was unable to defend the league title, but the club did finish in second place behind cross-town rival Manchester United.
Meanwhile, Chelsea earned third place in the EPL and won the Europa League title. This was the second consecutive continental title for the club after winning the Champions League last season.
Despite the success, it would not be surprising if both sides made drastic changes during the offseason.
Juan Mata, Chelsea: A-
While he did not have many touches throughout the match, Mata did what he had been doing all year long for Chelsea. When the squad needed a big play, he was there to make.
The midfielder had the assist on the opening goal and forced the penalty shot for the second. He is always around the action, and he made a positive impact in this one.
Petr Cech, Chelsea: A
For almost two-thirds of the match, Manchester City could not score a goal. This is because Petr Cech was there to make magnificent saves on a number of attacks from the opposing squad.
Who was the Man of the Match?
Chelsea gave up two goals after the keeper came out of the match, but it was clear that Cech was focused in this one.
Edin Dzeko, Manchester City: A+
Although he did not start the match, Edin Dzeko made a huge impact upon coming into the action as a substitute. The forward made aggressive runs and eventually scored two goals to help bring Manchester City a draw.
The squad's leading scorer in the EPL made a big difference in this one and could have done more if he played the entire 90 minutes.
Joe Hart, Manchester City: C
Chelsea did not have many opportunities in the first half, so it makes sense that Joe Hart was not ready to make a play in this friendly. However, the opening goal allowed was unacceptable for a keeper of his ability.
Hart made little effort at the ball, and it made it clear that he did not want to be a part of this match.
Manchester City Grades
|M||Jon Obi Mikel||B-|
These two squads will play each other again on Saturday at Yankee Stadium. After that, many of the players will join their respective national teams for more World Cup qualifying matches.
For the rest of the rosters, some time off is a great thing.
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