Date: 5th August 2010 at 7:39am
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Is Lionel Messi correct in his assessment that City are 2 world class defenders away from seriously challenging for major honours?

Last night’s workout in the inaugural Ferrosataal Cup challenge appeared to add some weight to what Messi is telling us.

A strong looking City side went behind early on when a needless foul by Barry gave Dortmund and easy penalty. A Premier League referee might even have seen Barry heading for the sanctity of the changing rooms. Barrios stuttering run-up perhaps fooled Hart more than the shot, but despite Joe diving the right way, the ball squeezed inside the post.

City came back quickly and strongly. Toure Yaya played the kind of pass out of defence that was missing all last season – a straight ball picking out Adebayor, who quickly sent Wright-Phillips off down the right wing. An early pass which for once reached the far post and a miskick by Jo went in off the goalkeeper to make it 1-1.

The game ebbed and flowed with new-signing Kolarov looking particularly good, not only in open play but also from free kick situations.

However on the stroke of half time the ref presented Dortmund with another chance from the spot when he penalised Kolarov somewhat harshly for a push and once again it was Barrios v Hart.

Barrios stop/start run-up left him short of space to get any real pace on the ball, Joe guessed right again and made and excellent save to his right.

The second half saw a number of changes and Shay Given , now in for Hart was busy quickly and defensive frailty gave Kasawa the opportunity to restore Dortmund’s lead.

Kolarov tried his best with a couple of free kicks and from one delivered the kind of cross that centre forwards love, except this time it fell to the rather wooden Santa Cruz, who didn’t get there and neither did Lescott running in behind.

Then with a few minutes left we saw the kind of calamitous defending that we were hoping we’d left behind but that was highlighted by Messi in his comments yesterday.

Kolo Toure found himself drawn to the ball on Lescott’s side of the field, his attempted clearance bounced off a Dortmund player, went between Lescott’s feet to new-boy Lewandowski who promptly despatched it into the back of the net pretty well unopposed, with Zabaleta unable to recover in time.

So a 3-1 defeat and most of it our own fault. Barry for me looked as if he was still at the World Cup and although Toure Yaya did display some destructive qualities along with some fine passing, we were never creative enough from a four-man midfield and the front men did very little. Dortmund knew our strengths would be wide-out but loaded those positions leaving SWP & Johnson with little space. The only replacement to make any real difference was of course Bellamy who injected some pace, upset a few people and looked likely to make something happen. At centre back, Kompany probably looked best.

We move on to meet Valencia on Saturday evening when hopefully we should see Tevez and Silva in action and get closer to what Mancini believes will be a starting line-up for the Premier League a week later.

 

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