Man City loses both games on South African tour
DURBAN, South Africa — AmaZulu beat Manchester City 2-1 with an 89th-minute penalty on Thursday and left last season’s Premier League runner-up with two losses from two games on its pre-season tour of South Africa.
Carlington Nyadombo hit the winner from the spot after the South African top-flight team led in the 20th minute through striker Bongani Ndulula. James Milner equalized at Durban’s Moses Mabhida World Cup stadium with a crisp volley six minutes later, City’s first goal on tour.
The deposed English champion showed more rhythm late in the first half, with new Brazilian signing Fernandinho grazing the crossbar soon after Milner’s goal. Half-time substitute Jack Rodwell slammed a shot straight at AmaZulu ‘keeper Aubrey Mathibe early in the second.
But City was caught out at the end, having been without new coach Manuel Pellegrini after he left the tour early, reportedly to return to his native Chile for personal reasons.
Standing in, assistant manager Brian Kidd said it was “an excellent workout” for City, despite the English team following up a 2-0 loss to Supersport United on Sunday with another unflattering defeat to one of South Africa’s less well-known teams.
“Obviously it’s a gradual process with the principles that the boss is trying to instill,” Kidd said of City’s weeklong tour. “But I thought there was a lot of good signs as well.”
City continues its pre-season preparations in Hong Kong next week.
In Durban, Ndulula cashed in on Aleksandar Kolarov’s terrible looping back pass for the opener. The striker pushed the ball past goalkeeper Joe Hart, who had come racing out of his area, and side-footed into City’s unguarded net for the early lead.
Milner equalized when he hit a rising right-foot volley from a tight angle that breezed past ‘keeper Tapuwa Kapini and into the roof of the goal.
Midfielder Fernandinho, subdued in the defeat to Supersport United in Pretoria, had his dipping shot skim off the crossbar as City put together a bunch of more meaningful attacks in the middle part of the game.
One of a string of substitutes, Rodwell’s shot was smothered by AmaZulu’s own substitute ‘keeper Mathibe in the 53rd, while Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko also went close.
Nyadombo decided the outcome, however, when he coolly scored from his late penalty after Abdul Razak fouled Marc Van Heerden near the byline.
City’s second game was organized to coincide with former South African President Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, and players carried a sky blue banner onto the pitch at the end, displaying a happy birthday message to “Mr. Mandela.”
“We just wish him health and happiness,” Kidd said.
Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.