Writer: Tranmere Loyal
Date:Friday August 31 2012
Ewen Fields, Hyde, once again hosted international club football last night as City's U-19s pitted their wits against another of Europe's Elite Development Squads, Paris St Germain provided the opposition.
As with last season it was a sharp awakening for Lombardo's men as they found a gigantic and athletic PSG squad too hot to handle.
For once horizontal rain was not the order of the day in Hyde as a pleasant evening provided the backdrop for what was to be a feast of football. Last season City were forced to play a team that was probably too young for this competition as many of the U-19s were out on loan, but this season, following the advent of the Barclays Premier U-21s League many are still at home as they search for a more cohesive formula.
And for the first twenty minutes it looked as though it was on it's way. City pressed high upfield, moved the ball through Suarez, Ruznak and the youthful Lopes with precision and accuracy and gave Les Parisiens a run for their money, but it all changed in a flash as City became the architects of their own downfall.
A short pass from Evans only found Ongenda whose shrewd pass opened the door for Rasjel to slam home the opener.
PSG immediately stepped up a gear and with Lagazzette marshalling Suarez to neutralise the threat and Arrondel keeping close tabs on Hiwula, City couldn't get going. Huws and Plummer couldn't get anything moving in midfield as PSG tightened them down and City surrendered possession far too often to a dangerous looking outfit.
From this point on the Blues only created one genuine chance in the midpoint of the second half when Hiwula finally got free only to be cynically hacked down by Bourdin on the edge of the box. With a clear sight of goal it was a chance Hiwula would normally have accepted, but somehow the Frenchman got away with a yellow card and the free kick though soundly struck was well saved by Areola in the PSG net.
With City playing 3-5-2 chances starting presenting themselves for PSG after they introduced Coman down the left where an absentee wing back provided him with space to provide his magic. Drury and Leigh found themselves too often upfield as PSG exploited the open spaces and a superb cross from Coman was turned in by Rajsal albeit it with the illegal use of his hand. Although the Assistant Referee was 'blind-side' the central official spotted it and the goal was disallowed.
But it was only a brief respite as with around ten minutes left, PSG once again exploited the right hand side of City's defence with Coman picking out Rajsel's run in the inside left channel. The big centre forward turned quickly and hammed the ball between the legs of the advancing Lawlor and into the net. This sparked an unusual celebration in the Walker Stand/Leigh Street Stand corner and the visitors job was done for the night.
Hiwula's effort apart, City didn't create a great deal in terms of chances as PSG quickly identified the danger areas and blocked them off with apparent ease.
Again it looked as though City fielded a younger overall team than the visitors, whose squad for tonight's match consisted entirely of black players who were like whippets and who played the ball with ease of mind and ease of thought. They shut off City's dangermen, starved City of the ball and starved them of sight of goal. The Blues did not really have a stand out player after the first twenty minutes and that is probably the best tribute I can pay to PSG. Once again the learning curve steepens with the EDS but the signs are there and I think we can expect some improvement when Fenerbahce come to town in a fortnight's time.
The Transfer Window closes at 23h00 BST tonight after Brian Marwood puts the cat out. We'll bring you confirmation of signings and departures on VMC once the club confirm what the stories are.
City have drawn Aston Villa at home in the third round of The Capital One League Cup. The tie will be played week commencing 24 September.
Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott and James Milner have been called up to the England squad for the World Cup Qualifying matches against Moldova and Ukraine.
UPDATED UPCOMING FIXTURES:
all times East Manchester
Sa 01 Sep 17h30 QPR, The Etihad, PL
Sa 15 Sep 15h00 Stoke, The Britannia Stadium, PL
Tu 18 Sep 19h45 Real Madrid, The Bernabeu, CL
Su 23 Sep 16h00 Arsenal, The Etihad, PL
TBC Aston Villa, The Etihad, LC3
Sa 29 Sep 15h00 Fulham, Craven Cottage, PL
We 03 Oct 19h45 Borussia Dortmund, The Etihad, PL
Sa 06 Oct 12h45 Sunderland, The Etihad, PL
Sa 20 Oct 15h00 West Brom, The Hawthorns, PL
We 24 Oct 19h45 Ajax, Amsterdam Arena, CL
Sa 27 Oct 17h30 Swansea City, The Etihad, PL
Date:Friday August 31 2012
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