Manchester City Winners and Losers from Preseason Friendly vs. South China

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Manchester City Winners and Losers from Preseason Friendly vs. South China
Victor Fraile/Getty Images
"And it will rain, rain, go away, go away, rain, rain, come back again another day."

In their Barclays Asia Trophy clash with South China, Manchester City proved true the old adage about how the show goes on.

Even before the Citizens took the waterlogged pitch at Hong Kong Stadium, the conditions of the playing surface had already made headlines.

And that is never good news.

In the first match of the four-team tournament, Sunderland swam past Tottenham Hotspur and Spurs' annoyed manager Andres Villas-Boas.

Annoyed, because the Spurs' boss lost Jan Vertonghen to an ankle injury that may or may not have been caused by the soaked turf after just six minutes of game action for the Belgian defender.

"It's always like that at this tournament. The conditions are poor, they're always like that," said Villas-Boas according to Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail.

With that as prelude, City played South China for the right to face the Black Cats for the tournament trophy.

But who was anyone kidding? City brass was probably just hoping to avoid losing one or more players to injury in what had already proven to be dangerous conditions.

If that was their wish, they got it as City eked out a 1-0, 80-minute win (the match shortened due to the weather, per Nik Simon and Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail) with everyone intact.

Here, then, is a quick rundown of the winners and losers from City's victory over South China:




Edin Dzeko

Entrusted again with primary striker duty, Dzeko was definitively more dangerous and active against South China than he had been in either of the earlier friendlies in South Africa.

The goal Dzeko scored cannot hurt his confidence any, sure, but the bigger takeaway is that he got himself involved in more of the offense on this day.


Samir Nasri 

In an abbreviated match, you might have expected to see the likes of Vincent Kompany and James Milner play all 80 minutes. They did.

So, too, did Nasri.

The Manuel Pellegrini Experience must feel like a new footballing life for the Frenchman, who was buried on the bench by former boss Roberto Mancini. Nasri has taken advantage of every opportunity Pellegrini has offered him so far.

Victor Fraile/Getty Images
Manuel Pellegrini returned to lead his team despite trying circumstances.


Manuel Pellegrini

A somber tip of the hat to Pellegrini, who returned to manage the Citizens against South China only days after losing his mother, per Martin Blackburn of The Sun.

In truth, Pellegrini could not have made a wrong decision here—but his strength through this sadness made him a winner on this day.




Anyone who thought City would go winless in Asia too

All right, so maybe there were not too many people who believed City could get pushed around in Hong Kong the way they were by SuperSport FC and AmaZulu last week.

Still, that first win had to be a relief for the club and its followers.


Anyone who bought a ticket to the match

In summary, the teams played only 80 minutes because of torrential downpours that muddied the pitch to the point that the behavior of the ball was unreliable according to Alex Horlock of the Daily Mail.

As a result, you had world-class athletes playing cautiously to avoid getting hurt in a meaningless friendly played in treacherous conditions. That sounds great.


Tottenham Hotspur

On learning that they drew Sunderland in the opening round of the tournament, Spurs must have imagined a relatively easy roll into a final clash with City.

When Spurs lost to Sunderland, they may well have been looking for the Sky Blues to similarly stumble against South China to set up an intriguing third-place playoff.

Now they get to stay in Hong Kong to play South China with the glittering prize at stake being not finishing dead last.

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