City 0 Inter 3
Even without a full first team and a new manager, Inter showed a consistent approach to their football - in effect, if the opposition don't have the ball, they don't score.
With Pandev doing his better-than-Ronaldo dying swans and then the referee paying more attention to Viera's flailing arms than Materazzi's deliberate kick, it was clear that the intent was to ensure that City finished up short-handed. Also a few of us will remember that in his wonderful autobiography Brian Clough told us that the reason he did not get the England job was because the FA were never going to appoint anyone who referred to the opposition as 'cheating I-tie bastards'. I suspect that there were a few on show last night under the guise of Argentinos or of other South american origin.
So Micah Richards wonders why he is not getting a chance to play for England. When you consider that he failed to track the fairly simple run of Obinna down the wing, only latching on to it when he cut inside an unleashed a shot which although right on the button in terms of direction should really have been saved by Hart, it is not difficult to see why this player still needs to learn. And he's got to want to learn. And he still does not demonstrate that desire.
For the rest of the first half we began to wonder what the ball looked like, we saw that little of it. Similarly at the start of the second half when the same player got free on the other side of the field, hit a fairly simple shot goalwards and Lescott applied the finishing touch wrong-footing Given. Oh yes - -Lescott plays for us.
Again we chased shadows, again Adebayor couldn't hold up the ball, again it came straight back.
Biraghi's 30 yarder late on put the ice cream on the cake for the Italians.
The team selected by City could easily have been one that started a Premier League match last season, although I suspect that there were a few 'shop window merchants' on display last night and that in 2 weeks time we will see a totally different XI take the field against Spurs. It is clear though that Inter have retained this keep-the-ball ethos and that is something we have to learn at Eastlands. We also need to learn that we have to take whatever chances come our way and that was never going to be the case last night with 10 men and only Adebayor up front.
I think that tomorrow all hands are back at Carrington and against Dortmund and Valencia we should start to see our new team taking shape and like the 36000 season ticketholders and the remaining 9000 match day tickets buyers, can't wait to see what the new season brings.
This match will have taught us a few lessons and if we learn them, develop once again as a new team and defend well it will be a very interesting season indeed, especially as this is the year when the eclipse should finally start as the sun sets on the dark side of Stretford.