A cold Carrington today but, being press open day, it was full of reporters and cameras. About twice as many as for the day before the first leg against Lisbon. Jose was talking with one reporter from a national paper in Portugal to find they cam from the same small town. Only about 200 in the “town” but they didnt know each other (he did leave it 20 years ago). The SSN reporter (James Cooper I think) wandered past on the phone telling someone about Carlos’ slightly OTT City headgear.
Yaya was first out and chatting away with Mancini and Platt. Followed then by Lescott and Clichy. Clichy was knocking a ball around with Fausto when Mario came. The ball was passed to Mario who just wellied it as far as he could. A classic Mario and John Smith’s HAVE IT moment. After the usual gathering for the Mancini chat they all jogged off into the distance for some routine loosening and stretching exercises followed by keep ball circle stuff. Seemed they had gone as far away as possible to test the long lenses! Immediately the cameras left they missed the best photo opportunity as Mario got a ball full in the face in the keep ball circle.
Back close up for a passing game where goals could only be scored through two poles with a first touch. Great defending from Savic kept goals out and some also from Mario at the other end as he played very deep for a change. 2 goals scored in the end by Carlos and Savic. Then into a small net game with only 2 goals again this time by Nasri and Pizarro. Surprisingly Nigel didnt get one in this game for a change.
And so into the game at the end.The 10 a side teams were:
Joe Hart plus AK, YT, SS, MR, DS, OH, DP, CT, ED
Costel plus KT, GC, MB, JM, SA, SN, AJ, NDJ, AL
Which team is stongest and most likely to win?
Carlos scored very quickly but it seemed to be disallowed but I have no idea why. A no backpass rule was employed which is unusual and caused some real problems when defenders were pressed as they were all the time. The first goal came from Edin and then immediately a sweet move saw AJ put a great ball across but Nigel at full pace couldnt turn it in.
Plenty of really good play before Clichy equalised. Breaking down the left but cut inside to hit a strong right foot shot. Plenty of arguing that there was an offside interfering with play but I am sure the goal stood. The game was quite high intensity and Edin did brilliantly to set up Carlos but he shot just over, before he (CT) scored a super goal only to have it chalked off for offside. Some excellent attacking play saw Nigel driving forward (oh yes he was!) to shoot across the keeper and wide but Sergio came in fast to turn it home. Offside claims were ignored again.
Mario got to the byline and pulled a great ball back but nothing came of it.
The best move of the match, flowing down the right,saw Milner shoot just wide
Sergio was very close after set up play from Milner
Carlos and Kolo was a great tussle to watch (Tevez called Carlito by teammates!)
That was that a 2-1 win although plenty of others claiming it was a 2-2 draw :) Half went in and plenty stayed for some shooting practice which as ever became competitive to see who would be last to score. AJ, AK, JM, ED, NDJ, SN all involved with DP feeding balls to them. Mario also staying out but at the other end working on his finishing plus a bit more. And as ever Clichy working away with one of the coaches. Mancini spent a bit of extra time talking with Savic, couldnt quite hear any detail.
The shooting practice ended with a few penalties which I have to say were superb, Milner especially but the best would go to Pizarro. He did have one saved ,scored a couple before he came up for another and gently chipped it down the middle. His celebration was classic and he turned away shouting and went into a Klinsman slide to the amusement of all watching.
Good session and if the buzz wasnt fully there yesterday it was again today.