Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Dzeko seals City win

Edin Dzeko scored the only goal of the game

Edin Dzeko was Manchester City's hero once more as Manuel Pellegrini's men overcame Sunderland to lift the Barclays Asia Trophy.

Just as he had done in the semi-final triumph over South China, Dzeko scored the only goal to give the Blues a deserved victory.

It was not quite a trouble-free victory for City as key defender Matija Nastastic was stretchered off in the second half, but they were the better side and only two goal-line clearances from Craig Gardner kept the score down.

It has been a productive few days for Dzeko. Expected to be on his way out of the Etihad Stadium this summer, the Bosnian remains and until reinforcements are brought in to compensate for the departure of Carlos Tevez and, last season, Mario Balotelli, so he is destined to remain.

On Saturday the former Wolfsburg man struck early.

Yaya Toure created the opportunity with a flick-on intended for Pablo Zabaleta. Wes Brown got there first, but the former Manchester United man could only turn the ball into the path of Dzeko, who duly rammed home a brilliant half-volley which flew in off a post.

Alvaro Negredo should have made it two after being played in by David Silva but the Spaniard blasted disappointingly over.

Negredo did no better when he was picked out by Dzeko later on, this time ballooning the ball over from a central position.

City keeper Costel Pantilimon did not have much to do and even when Emanuele Giaccherini had a chance, his shot went straight at the Romanian.

Sunderland had a lucky escape just before the break when Gardner headed Silva's free-kick against his own post, then clattered into the upright himself as the Black Cats scrambled clear.

With heavy rain falling on an already saturated surface, an area of approximately 50 yards either side of the halfway line resembled a bog.

Dzeko was certainly looking suspiciously at it when he skied a penalty high over the bar midway through the second half.

On this occasion, though, the surface did not seem to be any more responsible than Dzeko's poor finishing.

City suffered a blow 17 minutes from the end when Nastastic was stretchered off following an innocuous-looking incident involving Giaccherini.

Following his earlier heroics, Gardner went one better after Samir Nasri had presented Jesus Navas with a shooting chance, sliding back to make a brilliant goal-line clearance.

Pantimilon's save from Sebastian Larsson's free-kick ensured there was no late reprieve for Sunderland.

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