Edin Dzeko’s early, wonderful half volley from 25 yards for Manchester City was the only goal against Sunderland on Saturday as the Premier League teams continued preseason prep while competing in the awkwardly named Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong.
Dzeko (pictured from Saturday) later missed spectacularly from the 12-yard spot as the Bosnian’s effort flew well high into the stands. No matter; it’s just preseason, which is why it seems a little surprising the match went on through heavy wind and occasionally ridiculous rains.
Sunderland went unchanged from the lineup that took down Spurs as the brief tournament opened in midweek, That means Jozy Altidore was back in his new side’s starting 11. The U.S. international, having just moved over from AZ in Holland, played the first 45 minutes.
Impressive in Sunderland’s tournament opener against Spurs, the U.S. striker looked up for the job once again for Paolo Di Canio’s side, despite Saturday’s tough conditions. His best moment was a terrific touch that arranged a chance for Sunderland’s new Italian attacker Emanuele Giaccherini.
For City, recent signing Alvaro Negredo got his first start since the $30 million move from Spain’s Sevilla. Sunderland defender John O’Shea gave the Spaniard a proper Premiership welcome with a big, bruising hit.
Jesus Nava made his debut for the Blues, off the bench; the small Spanish winger had his moments, although he also had issues dealing with the footing.
Bigger take-aways: Not many, really, considering this was such a quick and quirky little tournament. Dzeko picked up a player of the tournament award, and new manager Manuel Pellegrini picked up his first hardware for City, such that it was.