English Premiership

Mancini in confident mood

2012-07-30 21:12
Roberto Mancini (File)
Malaysia - Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is confident his champion squad will be able to retain their English Premier League trophy after beating Malaysia in style.

Playing in humid conditions in Malaysia as part of City's Far East tour, Mancini's boys wrapped up their visit with an impressive 3-1 victory on Monday over the Southeast Asian team.

The star of the game was Argentine striker Sergio Aguero who looked fresh and full of energy after a brief summer rest.

Aguero, who scored the goal that won City their Premier League trophy in May, opened the scoring on 17th minutes and created the other two goals for Carlos Tevez and Adam Johnson.

Aguero had the chance to put City one up in the ninth minute when he rounded the Malaysian defence only to see his shot hit the crossbar.

But he was not to be denied eight minutes later when he burst past three defenders before chipping the ball over Malaysian goalkeeper Mohamad Farizal Marlias.

A smiling Mancini was delighted with the performances of his players and Aguero in particular and said the tour reinforced his belief the team can go all the way in the coming season.

"We were confident two weeks ago and I’m even more confident today. Sergio played very well and his partnership with Carlos has continued from last season," he said when asked about City's chances of retaining the Premiership title.

"They scored a goal each today which is good. Sergio also played in the wide position today but still produced the goods. Hopefully we can continue his good form in the coming season," he added.

Meanwhile, the City manager was quick to downplay injury concerns surrounding team captain Vincent Kompany, who had to cut short his Malaysian tour after picking up a knock earlier in the week.

"It's nothing serious. He had a scan and should be fit to play against Chelsea in the Charity Shield in two weeks' time," Mancini said.

"I'm happy we didn’t have any injuries today despite playing two matches in four days. It is difficult but the players are alright now," he added.

Mancini described the tour as an "eye opener" for his team as he was able to try out several of his younger players.

Although City started as the favourites, it was Malaysia who nearly opened the scoring in the second minute when City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon handled the ball outside the box.

Pantilimon however made up for his error when he saved Safiq Rahim’s freekick.

It was City who then dominated play and kept the Malaysian side defending.

Just three minutes into the second-half Aguero turned provider, slipping the ball to compatriot Tevez, who dinked the ball home from close range.

Four minutes later Aguero’s sublime chip split the Malaysian defence and Johnson collected the ball on his chest before slotting home.

Malaysia pulled a goal back three minutes from time when substitute Azamuddin Akil dribbled through the City defence and hammered the ball past substitute goalkeeper Eirik Johansen.

City has three more friendlies before they play in the Community Shield against Chelsea on August 12.

City, who are visiting Malaysia for the first time, won 2-0 in a friendly against Premier League rivals Arsenal in Beijing on Friday.

Malaysia has hosted several top English Premier League clubs, who are increasingly keen to nurture a fan base and help attract sponsors in Asia.

Arsenal visited the Southeast Asian country before travelling to China to meet Manchester City. Queens Park Rangers played two friendlies in Malaysia earlier this month.

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