KUALA LUMPUR (AFP)
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini expressed confidence his
champion squad will be able to retain their Barclays 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 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
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
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,"
"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 a "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
It was City who then dominated play and kept the Malaysian side
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
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
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.