Garcia 62mins, Dzeko 64mins & 85mins, Richards 90mins
Ba 14mins, Azpilicueta (pen) 45mins, Oscar 52mins
- Match reports
- 24 May 2013 03:50
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
A record crowd at Busch Stadium witnessed City dramatically reverse a three-goal deficit to win a thrilling encounter.
It was a deserved win on the balance of play on a night when the 48,263 fans present were treated to a first-class exhibition from two of the Premier League’s most exciting outfits.
Since touching down on US soil on Monday, City’s players have spent precious little time holed up in their hotel rooms admiring the Manhattan skyline.
Over the course of the past three days, the Blues have straddled Gotham to reveal the new Nike kit, dropped in on the New York Giants, revisited Lexington Academy and ferried over to Staten Island to donate equipment to a junior team hit by last year’s Hurricane Sandy.
All that and the small matter of helping launch the 20th MLS franchise, New York City FC on Tuesday morning.
Leaving the Big Apple behind for the time being on this breathless post-season tour, City jetted into St Louis on Thursday morning to take on Rafa Benitez’s Chelsea in a match which sold out in just 20 minutes.
It had been announced in the build-up to kick-off at the iconic home of the St Louis Cardinals that City and Chelsea had donated $45k from ticket sales to victims of this week’s devastating tornado in Oklahoma.
Players from both sides wore black armbands to pay tribute to the 24 victims of the catastrophic three-day storm and also took a moment of rememberance before kick-off dedicated to Drummer Lee Rigby from Middleton who was tragically killed in London on Wednesday.
Also included alongside this flight of international A-list talent was Netherlands u19 defender Karim Rekik and Slovakian youth international forward Albert Rusnak - the latter making his debut appearance at first-team level for the Blues.
With an enviable record against the new Europa League holders, City were aiming to record a fourth win in five games against Chelsea this season and Aguero almost provided the perfect start after two minutes but his instinctive strike into the back of the net following a clever Tevez through ball was correctly ruled offside.
Despite City’s early domination, it was Chelsea who took the lead a quarter of an hour in when Demba Ba met a teasing cross from Juan Mata with a header past the stranded Joe Hart.
Aguero almost made amends immediately after the opening goal with a swerving, dipping effort which came back off the outside of the post with Cech beaten.
Despite the scoreline, City were playing the more eye-catching brand of football in the first period, with the telepathic link-up play between Tevez, Aguero and Silva often a joy to behold.
Somehow City found themselves two down three minutes before half-time when Rekik was harshly adjudged to have pulled down Mata just inside the box and Azpilicueta stepped up to clinically dispatch the spot-kick.
City had 16 shots to Chelsea’s six in the first-half and four of the period’s five corners but goals win games as the Blues have learned the hard way on so many occasions over the last 12 months.
Dzeko, Richards, Richard Wright, Samir Nasri and another first-team debutant, Emyr Huws, were introduced at the break, along with Fernando Torres, Oscar and David Luiz for the opposition.
As is usually the case when so many changes are made in friendlies, the game became fragmented for a spell and Chelsea were able to capitalise and extend their lead five minutes after the break courtesy of Oscar who pounced on a loose ball and rounded Wright beautifully to score.
Despite the daunting three-goal deficit, City continued to press forward and reduced the arrears to just one with a quick-fire double around the hour mark.
First, Javi Garcia slotted home nicely after the ball fell to him from a deflected Maicon volley on 62, before Dzeko coolly finished from an incisive James Milner through ball two minutes later.
The excellent Gael Clichy presented Milner with the chance to complete an epic comeback on 71 minutes but Chelsea’s substitute goalkeeper Jamal Blackman pulled off an excellent save to keep the Londoners’ noses in front.
The 19-year old stopper was required again moments later to repel City’s 26th shot of the night – Dzeko again forcing the issue after chesting down and firing for goal in one classy movement.
City pressed on in search of the equaliser and finally got it seven minutes from time after Huws won back possession in the final third, finding Tevez who played it in for Dzeko to sidefoot past the helpless Blackman.
It was no less than City deserved but better was still to come as the game entered stoppage time, when Garcia nodded into the path of Richards to slide in from close range to finish off an incredible turnaround and a fitting dénouement to a riveting spectacle.
The two teams meet again at Yankee Stadium back in the Big Apple on Saturday night.
If this game was anything to go by, you won’t want to miss it.