Manchester City experimented with a youthful side and paid the price in a 4-1 defeat against Real Madrid.
It would be the youthful Denayer and Humphreys making up the center back pairing joining the more familiar Hart in goal with Sagna and Kolarov either side of them as City took on Real Madrid. Yaya Toure, Fernando, Nasri, Silva, Sterling made up the rest of the starting lineup with a debut for newest of new boys, Fabian Delph.
Sporting their new away kit for the game which, I must admit, I am still undecided about. The pictures I had initially seen online seemed to have the badge and trim as an almost neon blue. On the pitch, and on the City website, it looks much better so I guess it will grow on me.
Bad news for City came as Delph only lasted around 18 minutes before going down clutching the back of his leg. The physios came on and after frantic chatter between them and the bench the Englishman went off for Jesus Navas, in what was an all too brief appearance. Hopefully we will get news later that it was just precautionary and nothing major and he will be ready for the start of the season at least.
It would be Madrid who opened the scoring after 21 minutes with a great shot from Karim Benzema to the right of Joe Hart, giving him no chance. The youngsters guilty of ball watching but in truth it was a good move and finish.
Four minutes later the lead and was doubled as Cristiano Ronaldo scored, despite Hart getting hands to it. The center back pairing of the young Denayer and Humphreys were certainly getting valuable experience in this game.
More concerning though for City and Pellegrini was the first shot in anger on the Madrid goal came from Nasri with only four minutes of the half remaining.
There would be another two goals before the half wrapped up though as firstly Pepe powerfully headed in from a corner. Questions could be asked of the City defense as not only Pepe, but also Ramos, seemed to be unmarked. Again, the young center back pairing were getting a master class from a high quality, high intensity, always moving, attacking side. Despite the score line I think it certainly could be a positive for them as they attempt to take that step up.
A little hope for City did come right before the whistle with Raheem Sterling competing with Sergio Ramos. Sterling did well to bring the ball under control before Ramos slapped it away with his hand, penalty. Yaya Toure stepped up to convert and City went in only two goals behind a Madrid side who, let's face it, was maybe one change away from their competitive starting eleven.
City started the second half unchanged from the eleven who ended the first. Sterling and Navas both did well causing problems in behind the Madrid defense without finding any reward.
With just over 60 minutes gone, while waiting on a Ronaldo free kick, City made changes. Lopes, Iheanacho, Dzeko, Clichy and Zucculini came on for Sterling, Silva, Toure, Kolarov and Nasri. Despite the positive changes it was Madrid who would score next through Cheryshev. After the experienced Clichy allowed Isco to get the better of him and get a cross in the rest was academic and City were all but confirmed to suffer the loss.
That last ten minutes saw Patrick Roberts make his City debut and, although the result on paper looks bad, I am sure Pellegrini, and the young City talent, will have taken an enormous amount from this experience. I have been impressed with the young City players on display and would like to see some feature this season. City kick off their Premier League campaign at the Hawthorns in seventeen days.