It was a mix of youth and senior players for Manchester City's first game down under against opposition Adelaide United yesterday. Played behind closed doors, boss Manuel Pellegrini used two separate line ups for each half, mixing first team players with those from Patrick Vieira's EDS squad. The starting eleven were Caballero, Maffeo, Kompany, Humphreys, Horsfield, Nasri, Toure, Garcia, Ntcham, Pozo and Iheanacho.
Adelaide proved to be a tough test as City were held 0-0 at halftime. Bright spots for the blues consisted of a shot by Nasri which just sailed over the bar. Manu Garcia was then unlucky not to open the scoring and instead watched his shot be parried by the goalkeeper onto the crossbar and out. The 17 year old, right footed attacking midfielder, looked composed with the chance and possibly one for the future.
Another stand out play was a dribble into the box and shot by 18 year old Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho. The final shot was off target, with the help of a possible deflection, but his footwork to get into that position was certainly something to admire.
The line up for the second half, although changed, was still a good mix of youth and experience with Wright, Clichy, Navas and Fernando providing the wise old heads to the youth of Plummer, Evans, Glendon, Fofana, Zuculini, Barker and new signing Enes Unal.
Unal had an early chance but, unlike Garcia in the first half, didn't quite keep the same composure and shot wide of the goal.
Zuculini had a beautiful long range effort which the goalkeeper handled well before the eventual breakthrough for City came through Brandon Barker. The 17 year old, Mancunian, EDS winger has been an Academy player since the age of eight and only signed his professional contract with City a year ago. The number 62 cut inside the Adelaide defense before unleashing a low shot, beating the keeper, who did get fingers to it.
Old age played a part in the second half with Richard Wright making a couple of smart saves to keep the clean sheet before lead was increased in the 84th minute. A cross from Clichy into the box could have been met by any of two City players but this time Barker was called off by Zuculini, who gave the keeper no chance.
City now have a few days before taking on sister club, Melbourne City, at the same venue on Saturday.