English Premiership

Mancini makes winning start

2009-12-26 19:16
Roberto Mancini (File)

London - Roberto Mancini's reign as Manchester City manager got off to a winning start on Saturday as first half goals from Martin Petrov and Carlos Tevez secured a 2-0 victory over Stoke.

The Italian, three times a Serie A winner as manager of Inter Milan, made his controversial move to Manchester after City replaced Mark Hughes, immediately following last Saturday's home victory over Sunderland.

City, and in particular chief operating officer Garry Cook and chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak, have been widely criticised this week for the manner in which the widely-respected Hughes was dismissed by the club.

But the reaction that greeted Mancini's introduction before the game, and the response on the final whistle as a debut day victory was assured, suggests that the managerial switch has met with the approval of the rank-and-file City support.

The home side still displayed the familiar defensive frailties that undermined Hughes' tenure, however, and it took a magnificent save from Hughes' loyalist Shay Given to help City on their way.

Danny Collins's 19th-minute pass allowed Tuncay to ghost past the ineffective Kolo Toure and forced Given to sprint from his line to make a brave block and receive a blow to his knee from a collision with his own defender in the process.

At that point, City were still a work in progress, the players switching positions, and formations, as Mancini clearly worked through some ideas on the fly and, given those circumstances, that save would prove vital for, by the 28th minute, City's teething problems were clearly solved.

Tevez, not for the first time, proved unstoppable as he powered past a group of markers and crossed. Robinho helped the ball into the path of Petrov at the far post and the Bulgarian rammed home the opener.

It was not until deep into first half injury-time that City doubled their lead through the lively Tevez. Pablo Zabaleta swung a deep, high cross into the Stoke box, which Gareth Barry helped towards goal, with Tevez doing the rest with an accomplished, close-range finish.

The opening attack of the second half might have put the game beyond all reasonable doubt as Robinho surged into the area where he was stopped by a brilliantly-timed tackle from Andy Wilkinson.

The ball broke kindly for Petrov whose low shot was saved at the second attempt to Sorensen with Robinho poised to net the rebound.

For all their energetic attacking play, however, it was still the same old City in defence and substitute James Beattie almost started an unlikely Stoke fightback just after the hour.

City failed to deal with Matthew Etherington's free-kick which substitute Robert Huth headed back across goal and Beattie's fierce far-post volley drew another blinding save from Given.

Mancini had seen enough and decided he needed the height of Micah Richards for those set-pieces with the former England defender thrown on for Sylvinho.

Still, Stoke were threatening and another Etherington free-kick found the head of Ricardo Fuller who steered his effort beyond the far post.

As chairman Khaldoon and Cook watched on from the directors' box, Mancini brought on another Hughes loyalist, Craig Bellamy, as a substitute with 20 minutes to play, as City, and Robinho in particular, appeared to be running out of energy.

Bellamy almost marked his popular introduction with a goal as he chased onto Stephen Ireland's pass but was denied by Thomas Sorensen's save, the City man appealing for a penalty in the process as Huth seemed to push him in the back.

Danny Higginbotham missed embarrassingly from six yards in injury-time but the afternoon belonged to City and the new manager in charge of their fortunes.


Ea Lla Koto down Dikwena

26 minutes ago


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!


I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
20 December 2014
West Ham United v Leicester City, Boleyn Ground 17:00
Queens Park Rangers v West Bromwich Albion, Loftus Road Stadium 17:00
Southampton v Everton, St. Mary's Stadium 17:00
Hull City v Swansea City, The KC Stadium 17:00
Aston Villa v Manchester United, Villa Park 17:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley, White Hart Lane 17:00
21 December 2014
Newcastle United v Sunderland, St. James' Park 15:30
Liverpool v Arsenal, Anfield 18:00
22 December 2014
Stoke City v Chelsea, Britannia Stadium 22:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

How long will Mario Balotelli last at Liverpool?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.