Report: Kaizer Chiefs 0 City 1
Tuesday 21 July, 7.00pm (BST)
Goals: Ireland 45
The second game in South Africa saw City put out a stronger side and reap the rewards with a deserved victory courtesy of a goal from captain Stephen Ireland on the stroke of half time.
Hughes ditched the 4-4-2 and reverted to last season’s formation with first Ireland and then Wright-Phillips in the hole behind a lone striker.Ã‚Â Everybody looked more comfortable with this.Ã‚Â There was never the sense of being overrun which we had on Saturday.
It’s worth noting the contrast from last season for Ireland when he was on the road to Sunderland during the final friendly, believing he was no longer required by the Blues. He could have had his name on the scoresheet earlier in this fixture when he was put clean through after eighteen mintutes, but shot straight at the keeper.
Prior to that City’s early domination had resulted in a free kick after ten minutes. McGivern will feel he should have scored with a header after Barry put over a decent ball. Is this a sign of things to come, with the England international due to take set pieces?
De Jong, Barry and Ireland looked a very promising midfield trio that was to good for the Chiefs. Whether or not it was down to our different formation and personnel, the Kaizer Chiefs didn’t look as good as our previous opponents in my opinion. If their defence had played a higher line, they’d have been in the Northern hemisphere.
City finally exploited this with a good run and cross by Etuhu for Ireland to score on the stroke of half time. It was an excellent run into the box by the Irishman. Another summer spent running up and down the hills of Derbyshire paid off for that one.
A pair of changes by City at half-time saw Wright-Phillips emerge as captain and Benjani replace Caicedo. City were less effective without Ireland and Benjani in particular looked like he could soon be elsewhere. A glance at Adebayor in the stands would may well have confirmed that. One plus was the performance of Petrov who was linking up with Bridge and putting over some dangerous looking crosses.
However as City tired, the Chiefs started to create openings, culminating in Motaung jr. missing a sitter from six yards out with only Taylor to beat. A goal for the Chiefs would have been harsh on the young defensive duo of Mee and McGivern, who deserved their clean sheet after looking assured throughout. They provided a timely reminder of the strength of the Academy when potential deals for Terry and Lescott struggle to get completed.
Sadly the same could not be said for Etuhu, who missed a golden opportunity in the 89th minute after being put through by Petrov.Ã‚Â Personally I’ve never been convinced that he would make the grade with us and am surprised he’s still here.Ã‚Â Maybe somebody at the club hasn’t quite got over the way his brother Dickson walked out on us and is refusing to let Kelvin go.
Zabaleta was given Man Of The Match, though I was most impressed with Barry, while Ireland just carried on from last season. The manager will say it’s all about the workout, but for the fans it was nice to see a win and keep a clean sheet with our first glimse of a Summer signing in the excellent Gareth Barry.
Finally I’d like to comment on my first experience of watching a game on the new web site (I was at Eastlands for the Pirates game). According to the club I was one of about 21,000 to do so, and it was definitely a positive experience so credit to the people responsible for the site.
I understand there were problems on Saturday, but for me they were minor on this showing.Ã‚Â There were a few pauses but this is the nature of live video streaming.Ã‚Â At one point I switched to the low bandwidth option and the picture was still perfectly viewable.Ã‚Â The club use Brightcove for serving their video and as an American company with a lot of blue chip clients they’re about as good as we can get for this kind of thing.Ã‚Â The internet wasn’t designed to serve live video so no company is able to do it to perfection, and compared to the frustrations that can be had on Justin.tv and the like, this was definitely a big improvement.Ã‚Â And it’s free!