City building undone by Weir
Manchester City 2 Rangers 3
Thursday 06 August 2009
In Manchester City, we see how far wonder might reach. It can seem as though the only impediment to this club is the scope of their imagination. So we look at City, and the riches that sustain them, and wonder, what is taking shape? What is this team becoming?
There were some answers here last night; glimpses of insightful attacking and careworn defending. The Premier League kicks off in nine days, and City are still finding their rhythm. Players have been acquired as status symbols as much as components of a team that might prove a title contender.
City will request that one of them, Carlos Tevez be excused from Argentina's friendly match against Russia in Moscow next week. Tevez damaged his heel when he slipped in the shower and has not featured in any of City's pre-season games, and manager Mark Hughes wants to ensure that he will be fit for the Premier League kick-off.
"We'll speak to the doctor and make a representation to the Argentinean FA to inform them that it wouldn't be right for Carlos to play," Hughes said. "We hope they will understand and respect that."
Hughes believes he will recover in time for the start of the season. Three of his summer signings did start and. there was a sense of languid ingenuity in the way Emmanuel Adebayor led the attack, supported by Robinho.
The centre of defence remains an area of concern and there was a doleful hesitancy in the way Richard Dunne and Kolo Touré failed to deal with Lee McCulloch's driven cross in the 20th minute. Nacho Novo capitalised with a firm rising effort beyond Shay Given. As though irked, City revealed a freshly revived intent and eight minutes later, Adebayor's cross-field pass reached Stephen Ireland in the penalty area and he softly guided a shot beyond Neil Alexander.
City took after the interval the lead with a carefree air. Robinho lifted a pass behind Rangers' right-back Steven Whittaker, and substitute Martin Petrov ambled through to score.
Yet it was the home side that constructed the game's slickest, most thrillingly adroit passage of play. Pedro Mendes flicked the ball with the outside of his foot to Steven Davis, who then spun a pass over Touré's head to Kenny Miller, who lobbed Given.
There was time for a final, decisive intervention by David Weir, the Rangers defender's volley evading Given.
Rangers (4-3-3): Alexander; Whittaker, Bougherra, Weir, Papac; Davis, McCulloch, (Niguez, 84) Mendes (Fleck, 72); Novo (Lafferty, 58), Miller (Boyd, 58), Naismith (Velicka, 72).
Manchester City (4-3-3): Given; Richards, Touré, Dunne, Bridge; De Jong (Zabaleta, 46), Ireland (Ben-Haim, 66), Barry (Petrov, 46); Etuhu, Adebayor (Bellamy, 72), Robinho (Weiss, 81).
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