Manchester City and Real Madrid entertained more than 99,000 fans at the MCG in a thrilling encounter which ended in a 4-1 victory for the La Liga giants.
Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Denis Cheryshev got on the scoresheet for Madrid while Yaya Toure scored City’s only goal via a penalty. The victory resulted in Madrid clinching the Australian International Champions Cup.
Pellegrini will be slightly disappointed with his side’s performance even though it was a pre-season friendly. City were outplayed for nearly the entire 90 minutes by Benitez’s men and the score line reflects Madrid’s performance. Both teams started with strong line-ups including a debut for City’s new signing Fabian Delph.
The Ronaldo show
The 99,000 turn up was much accredited to this man as fans flooded in the MCG to get a glimpse of the ‘Ronaldo spectacle’ and the Portuguese international did not disappoint. The 30-year-old was in his usual fine form as he showcased his skill and flair at the famous sporting ground. To cap it off, he scored a fantastic goal after he collected a Toni Kroos long ball relatively easily and put a cheeky chip past a helpless Joe Hart. Ronaldo lasted little over 60 minutes in which he managed to entertain the crowd with a Man of the Match performance, while also getting some valuable pre-season game time under his belt.
Not so fab for Delph
Fabian Delph was handed his first start since he joined City a few days ago but it only lasted 21 minutes after he limped off with a supposed hamstring problem. In his little time on the pitch, Delph had his good and bad moments, it would be harsh to criticise him considering it was only his first pre-season appearance, but he will be more than disappointed with his start as a City player.
With the amount of boos that Raheem Sterling received, one would be forgiven for thinking the match was played at Anfield. The 20-year-old recently completed his switch from Liverpool to City and the MCG crowd gave him a tough time for it. Besides the harsh reaction, Sterling was mostly kept under chains by Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos, who made his physical superiority evident for all. Sterling started in what looked like to be a false No.9 role, a position he has played for Liverpool in the previous season, but was unable to make any sort of serious impact barring a few moments of brilliance.
Much to improve
Pellegrini will surely have a lot of work to do with his players before the start of the new season, especially with getting his players back into shape. Yaya Toure for example looked drained when he came out for the second-half even though he had gotten on the scoresheet. City started without any recognised strikers and Pellegrini and his staff will do well to get Sergio Aguero and Wilfried Bony fit before the start of the new campaign. Edin Dzeko made an appearance mid-way through the second-half but did not seem like a player who wanted to be at the club for much longer. The Bosnian put in a lethargic performance, prompting a move away.
A lot of work still to be done for City and even Real Madrid for that matter, as a crucial season awaits both teams. Pellegrini might want to bring in a couple of fresh faces in this transfer window but will still look to work towards getting his current crop of talent ready and firing. Not long to go for the start of the new season and if the ICC has been anything of a trailer for what lies ahead, we can be assured of a blockbuster of a season to come.
© 2015 Outside 90 | This article was written by Rahul Dantes and first appeared in Outside 90 on July 25th 2015.