City keep powder dry against Pirates

Orlando Pirates 2 Manchester City 0
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Manchester City kept their high-profile signings out of sight as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat against Orlando Pirates yesterday.

Carlos Tevez and Roque Santa Cruz were not even named on the bench for the match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane. And Gareth Barry, although named as a substitute, did not make an appearance.

Mark Hughes' side are taking part in the Vodacom Challenge as part of their pre-season tour, a competition which also includes the Kaizer Chiefs. The game was played at a ground which will be used at next year's World Cup.

In an evenly-contested first half, the Pirates managed to get the upper hand four minutes before the break. Ben Mee fouled Frank Olivier in the box and defender Lucas Thwala converted the penalty, beating City's new goalkeeper Stuart Taylor. The Pirates doubled their lead in the 56th minute thanks to a long-range effort from substitute Phenyo Mogale.

Big-spending City will be looking to bounce back in their next match, against the Kaizer Chiefs on Tuesday, when supporters will be hoping to see some of the new signings make their debuts. Hughes has yet to decide whether his forwards, the Argentinian Tevez and the Paraguayan Santa Cruz, will get their first outings since joining the club in recent weeks.

"It might be too early to risk them as their match fitness is not up to speed," said the Manchester City manager Hughes. "It's more about our conditioning for the moment.

"There are players at different levels of fitness and the next few games will sort that out. We were pleased with the day although not the result." City's last game of the tour is in Pretoria on Saturday.

Sunderland suffered a surprise 4-1 defeat by non-league Gateshead, while Derby County, of the Championship, were another side to fall to supposedly lower-class opposition, slumping to a 2-1 defeat at League Two Chesterfield. Cardiff City, too, underachieved, going down 3-1 at Tamworth.

In other games, Blackburn Rovers prevailed 3-1 at the Conference North side Southport, Plymouth Argyle won 2-0 at Skelmersdale United, Preston North End were 2-1 winners at Tranmere Rovers while Swansea City triumphed 3-1 against FC Twente, the Dutch side coached by Fabio Capello's England predecessor, Steve McClaren, at the Liberty Stadium.

Nathan Tyson hit a hat-trick as Nottingham Forest hammered Burton Albion, newcomers to the Football League, 4-1, while Lewis Guy and Robbie Clark fired Doncaster Rovers to a 2-0 win at the Blue Square Premier side, Barrow.

Reading, still adjusting to life without Steve Coppell, suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of non-league Kettering, Bristol City drew 1-1 with Cheltenham while Leon Best and Freddy Eastwood hit the goals as Coventry City won 2-0 at Hinckley Town.

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