David Silva and Sergio Aguero ensured Manchester City's defence of the Premier League got off to a winning start with a 2-0 victory at Newcastle United on Sunday.
The Spain midfielder signed a new five-year deal with the Etihad Stadium club earlier in the week, and he celebrated with a fine finish after being set up by a cute Edin Dzeko backheel.
Substitute Aguero also capped his new deal at the club by sealing the points in injury time.
Gran triunfo en Newcastle! Vamos City!!//Brilliant victory at Newcastle! C'mon, City!! pic.twitter.com/VIiYzc92N3— Sergio Aguero (@aguerosergiokun) August 17, 2014
Manuel Pellegrini restored Joe Hart to his starting XI in place of pre-season regular Willy Caballero, while Alan Pardew gave Newcastle debuts to Jack Colback, Remy Cabella, Emmanuel Riviere and Daryl Janmaat.
Before the game, Newcastle held a minute's silence in memory of supporters Liam Sweeney and John Alder, who were killed in the MH17 Malaysian Airways air crash during the summer. Those in the crowd also staged one minute of applause for their two fans in the 17th minute of the game.
Coloccini & Kompany help lay wreaths in the centre circle to honour #NUFC fans John Alder & Liam Sweeney, who died in the MH17 air disaster— Premier League (@premierleague) August 17, 2014
Great tribute to the supporters who lost their lives from both clubs and both rivals today. Well done #NUFC— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) August 17, 2014
It didn't take long for the pace to pick up. Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul was pressed into action in the second minute as he denied Edin Dzeko after a great ball from Stevan Jovetic.
In the 11th minute, Samir Nasri found a gap open up in front of him as he collected a ball from Aleksandar Kolarov, but Krul was equal to the effort and pushed the strike away.
Riviere tried his luck from distance in the 23rd minute, but the effort drifted wide of Hart's goal.
Moments later, great work by Nasri and Jovetic on the right was undone by a poor cross that flew over Dzeko in the Newcastle area.
A lack of clear-cut opportunities for either side was turning an intriguing tactical battle into a disappointing affair. Cabella tried to change that with a clever ball to Riviere in the 31st minute, but the striker fired well wide.
Daniel Taylor of The Guardian was one of many singing the former Montpellier man's praises at that point:
Impressed with Remy Cabella so far. Always wants the ball. #NUFC finishing the first half well.— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) August 17, 2014
Silva was first into the referee's book in the 34th minute, when he received a yellow card for a deliberate trip on Vurnon Anita. Riviere did well to hold off the attentions of Vincent Kompany a minute later, but his subsequent cross was woeful and a waste of a Newcastle chance.
That miss was given additional resonance in the 38th minute as Silva gave City the lead. Dzeko collected a deep Yaya Toure ball before backheeling it into the path of Silva, who struck past Krul.
¡Taco DE LUJO de Dzeko y GOLAZO de David Silva! http://t.co/SjFeKfi7Vc— Fútbol (@Futbool_Fotos) August 17, 2014
Never tire of watching David Silva. Pure class— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) August 17, 2014
Four minutes into the second period, a Colback corner found Yoan Gouffran clear at the back post, but the Frenchman needed time to control the ball fully, and Hart was able to block.
In the 54th minute, Martin Demichelis was cautioned for a foul on Cabella. Colback was unlucky to see his subsequent free-kick cut out by Kompany with Gouffran lurking at the far post.
Kolarov also found his way into the notebook for an illegal challenge on Riviere three minutes later. Again, Colback took the free-kick, but Paul Dummett was unable to keep his header down.
Shortly thereafter, at the other end of the field, Jovetic broke clear, but Fabricio Coloccini produced a fine sliding block to deny the City forward.
Newcastle made the first change of the game in the 63rd minute, with Gabriel Obertan coming on for Anita.
Riviere, Gouffran, Obertan, Cabella, Sissoko. Five of Newcastle's MID/ATT six are French. #NUFC— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) August 17, 2014
Moussa Sissoko was penalised in the 73rd minute for bringing down Dzeko 25 yards from goal, and Toure skimmed the crossbar with his free-kick.
By this time, City had replaced Jovetic with Fernandinho, while 18-year-old Rolando Aarons had come on for Newcastle in place of Gouffran.
Kompany was shown a yellow card for a block on Colback moments later, but Cabella's free-kick was cut out by the City wall.
Poor decision, Colback ran straight into Kompany and he had no chance of getting out of the way— Rik Sharma (@riksharma_) August 17, 2014
Janmaat earned a card for clipping Fernandinho before Nasri was replaced by James Milner 12 minutes before the end.
Colback was looking an astute summer buy for Pardew, especially where his set-piece ability was concerned. Another floated free-kick almost set up an equaliser, but no Newcastle forward was able to take advantage.
Jack Colback can take a set-piece. Seb Larsson clearly hogging them all at S.o.L, never seen them before. #NUFC— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) August 17, 2014
Ayoze Perez—on for Riviere—almost pulled Newcastle level in the closing stages, but his placed effort drifted just wide of Hart's post.
Four minutes later, in the 88th minute, Fernando was added to City's yellow-card count for a foul on Sissoko.
But Aguero, who had earlier replaced Dzeko, sealed the three points for City in injury time. The Argentina striker beat Coloccini in a one-on-one inside the area, but his initial shot was blocked by Krul. However, Aguero pounced on the rebound to slot home.
So cool, so clinical. Sergio Aguero denied by Krul but calm follow-up, passing the loose ball into the net. 2-0 to #mcfc.— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 17, 2014
Newcastle travel to the Midlands for the Premier League game at Aston Villa on Saturday lunchtime, while Manchester City play host to Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Monday. The latter will be a huge early-season contest between last year's top two finishers.
Selected player ratings
David Silva: A+
The Spaniard celebrated his new five-year deal with Manchester City by scoring the opening goal. A joy to watch last season, Silva has picked up where he left off for the new campaign.
Edin Dzeko: A
He might not be the most celebrated player in the Manchester City line-up, but Dzeko is clearly well liked by Pellegrini. His assist for Silva's opener was sublime. He was a constant threat to the Newcastle defence.
Great photo of Edin Dzeko's balletic backheel assist for David Silva's goal. pic.twitter.com/tAyoMTmJKw— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 17, 2014
Remy Cabella: A
He looks a good signing for Newcastle United this season. Some good touches and clever thinking throughout this game, which would seem to make him a good fill-in for Yohan Cabaye, who departed last January.
#Pardew: "I'm kind of pleased in a weird way with a 2-0 defeat. Our reaction after HT was terrific. It takes time. Players need to settle."— Matt Smith (@ElasticoChop) August 17, 2014
Fernando another strong CM from this week's action. Mops it up superbly, and so firm in the challenge. Does not shirk. #MCFC— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) August 17, 2014