Stephen Ireland hit the winner in first-half stoppage time to give City their first win of the Vodacom Challenge against Kaizer Chiefs at the Absa Stadium in Durban.
A rapid counter attack by City saw Etuhu storm down the left, crossing to Ireland who was rushing in on goal. The self-exiled Ireland international slid the ball past the South African keeper and into the back of the net for his first pre-season goal and a 1-0 victory for Manchester City.
Mark Hughes’ side started the game looking the most lively and quickly set about causing trouble behind the Amakhosi’s back line, although their efforts went unrewarded as the South African side held firm.
Stephen Ireland had the first real goal opportunity as he beat two defenders before seeing his goal bound effort blocked by Chiefs keeper Sweswe.
Nigel de Jong and summer signing Gareth Barry were at the heart of City’s midfield, de Jong engaging in a few crunching tackles which kept the Chiefs largely at bay.
As the first half wore on the Chiefs were seeing a lot more of the ball, although their attacking threat was consigned to long range efforts which were never really going to do any damage.
Just before half-time, City countered from a spell of pressure from Kaizer Chiefs, Kelvin Etuhu broke down the left-hand side, squaring the ball to acting captain Stephen Ireland slotted the ball past Sweswe and gave City a 1-0 lead.
The second-half saw the introduction of Benjani Mwaruwari and Martin Petrov for Felipe Caicedo and Stephen Ireland respectively.
It was Kaizer Chiefs who dictated much of the play after the break, with City content to sit back and invite the South African side forward.
Taylor made a great save to tip the ball round the post in the 49th minute but it was a rare effort from the Amakhosi.
In the 63rd minute Gareth Barry left the pitch following a strong debut for his new club, Javan Vidal who spent last season on loan north of the border with Aberdeen came on as his replacement.
Martin Petrov proved to be City’s main attacking threat, the Bulgarian shooting narrowly wide before sending a dangerous cross into the Chiefs box, Wright-Phillips unable to control it with his acrobatic effort.
With 10 minutes to go, Motaung Junior had a perfect opportunity to equalise for the Chiefs.
After some fine footwork from Nengomasha, he laid it off to the Chiefs captain who played the ball through to Motaung, the ineffective striker shooting wide of the post with just the keeper to beat.
In the dying minutes City had a chance to finish the game off, Kelvin Etuhu breaking through on goal, rounding the keeper and shooting high and wide of the target.
Overall it was a big improvement on the Pirates game but the fitness levels of the players are still no-where near the optimum level. A win was all City needed and they got it, roll on Saturday.
Full Time: Kaizer Chiefs 0 Manchester City 1
Goals: Ireland 45’+2
Kaizer Chiefs: Khune, Mmbooi, Sweswe, Nengomasha, Nahayo, Masenamala, Masango, Ntuka, Nale, Mathebula, Motaung.
Manchester City: Taylor, Zabaleta, McGivern, Mee, Bridge, De Jong, Barry, Wright-Phillips, Etuhu, Ireland, Caicedo.
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