Friendly: City 0 Inter Milan 3
A friendly that wasn’t so friendly saw Patrick Vieira seeing red midway through the first half and from then on proved to be a damage limitation exercise for City against a polished Inter side.
Both sides were lacking several World Cup players and City also had the handicap of being without their manager. We could have done with him to reorganise the team in the wake of Vieira’s dismissal.
With only 10 men and no manager the game proved little use for City in a disappointing end to our tour of America.
We had actually started brightly with Adebayor surging through the Inter defence. The Italians then found their rhythm and we were quickly on the back foot with Pandev having a goal debatably ruled offside.
Pandev then provoked a spat with Kompany after exaggerating the effects of a challenge. The referee booked both players and with the temperature raised Vieira was soon sent off after Materazzi crashed into the Frenchman’s outstretched arm.
Materazzi’s histrionics again provided a reminder of how Mourinho’s Inter played the game. It’s dispiriting to watch, though unlikely to change under Benitez.
From then on Inter showed their footballing quality and one can only wonder at how Argentina might have fared at the World Cup with Cambiasso in their side alongside Mascherano. Germany certainly wouldn’t have overrun them then.
Any advantage City might have gained from being further along in their pre-season training was lost to Inter’s numerical advantage. It was an excellent performance from the European champions, playing as though they were keen to make an impression on Rafa Benitez in his first match in charge.
The Spaniard certainly looks to have landed on his feet following a poor final season at Anfield. With this squad and his ability to navigate teams through the Champions League, Inter could be a team to watch out for despite the loss of Mourinho.
For City there was less to cheer. Yaya Toure had some good moments, but Cambiasso had more. Adam Johnson again showed moments of skill without finding an end product and faded badly in the second half.
Shaun Wright-Phillips and Stephen Ireland endeavoured to take the game to the opposition as they seek to hold on to their places within the squad. They did well enough here.
Adebayor again proved he’s no target man when balls are lumped forward. We needed him to hold it up better to have any chance of creating openings.
Possibly the most intriguing battle is that for the goalkeeper’s jersey. Joe Hart played the first half and looked a little to anxious to impress. One cross was fumbled and their were slight question marks about his failure to prevent the opening goal.
Shay looked more at ease with his own game and there were no signs of him being hampered by injury. It’s to be hoped Joe Hart does stay at the club, but whether Mancini can keep them both happy with a rotation policy remains to be seen.
In our remaining two pre-season fixtures, we’ll have virtually a full squad to choose from and it’s to hoped the games prove more worthwhile than this one.