It was deja vu for Manchester City as the Barclays Premier League champions opened their title defence with a thrilling 3-2 victory over newly promoted Southampton.
Not only was the score the same as that unforgettable final home game against Queens Park Rangers last season, so was the scoring sequence, and even the ends they went in at the Etihad Stadium. The major difference was that this time, City did not wait until added time before responding to falling behind.
Edin Dzeko was the man who equalised again, though, before Samir Nasri produced the winner with 10 minutes remaining. It was tough on Southampton, who had stuck doggedly to their task, but paid the price for only holding their lead for four minutes as Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis responded to Carlos Tevez's first-half opener.
Tevez's goal came as a huge relief to the hosts, whose striker Sergio Aguero was taken off on a stretcher in the first half with a knee injury after a challenge from Nathaniel Clyne. City subsequently missed a penalty, when David Silva's softly struck spot-kick was saved by Kelvin Davis. Having been played through by Samir Nasri, the Argentina striker beat Davis at his near post.
The second half did not go to plan for Roberto Mancini's charges as Lambert came off the bench to curl an equaliser past Joe Hart on 59 minutes, and Steven Davis, also a second-half substitute, drove in midway through the second half.
But just as they did on that memorable final match of last season, City responded to going 2-1 down. Dzeko, who scored the stoppage-time equaliser against QPR and had come on for Aguero, pulled City level with a first-time shot after Vincent Kompany's effort had been blocked.
And 10 minutes from time, after defender Daniel Fox headed the ball into his path, Nasri flashed a shot into the net from 12 yards to complete yet another enthralling comeback for the Barclays Premier League champions.
|26 Aug 2012||v Liverpool (A)|
|01 Sep 2012||v QPR (H)|
|15 Sep 2012||v Stoke (A)|
|23 Sep 2012||v Arsenal (H)|
|29 Sep 2012||v Fulham (A)|
|06 Oct 2012||v Sunderland (H)|