Monday 13 August 2012
Manchester City got their season off to a winning start by coming from behind to clinch the FA Community Shield at the expense of Chelsea at Villa Park.
Yaya Toure, Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri struck in 12 second-half minutes as the Barclays Premier League champions recovered from falling behind to Fernando Torres’s first-half opener.
Though Chelsea pulled a goal back late on through Ryan Bertrand, the Blues struggled to recover from the dismissal of Branislav Ivanovic three minutes before half-time.
"Carlos Tevez's form is better than last year"
- Roberto Mancini
There was little to choose between the two sides in the first half but the FA Cup winners took a 40th-minute lead after a purposeful run from Ramires, who slipped Torres in with an incisive flick of the boot for the Spanish international to score.
However, no sooner had Roberto Di Matteo's charges finished celebrating than Ivanovic was given his marching orders for a high tackle on Aleksandar Kolarov.
It took Roberto Mancini's men only eight minutes to take advantage of their numerical superiority, Toure seizing upon a poor clearance by John Terry to score.
Five minutes later City were ahead, courtesy of a wonderful strike by Tevez, who drifted in from the left, evaded the challenge of David Luiz, and unleashed a vicious strike into Petr Cech's top corner.
By now the champions were rampant and Nasri made it 3-1 on 65 minutes with a deft first-time finish from Kolarov's left-wing cross.
With City threatening to score four, Chelsea reduced the arrears against the run of play, Bertrand reacting first after goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon spilled Daniel Sturridge's shot.
But City held on to defy the European club champions, claim the Community Shield for the first time in 40 years and serve a gentle reminder to their Barclays Premier League rivals of their intention to keep a firm grasp on the title they won so dramatically last season.
Mancini paid tribute to the performance of Tevez and said that the Argentina international looked destined for a productive campaign this 2012/13 campaign.
"I'm very happy because Carlos, this year, worked very well in pre-season," said Mancini . "His form is better than last year and, also, because I think this year he wants to play football.
"For a player, it's difficult not to play a game. Carlos, last year, was six months without a game, without a match. That's difficult. He's a top player. If he wants to play, he's one of the top.
"Last year, we had Carlos for the last 10 games and it was important, he scored five or six goals. But he was not 100%. This is the first time in the last four or five years that he's had a pre-season, and for every player that's important."
There was less good news on the injury front, however, as Mancini revealed that defender Micah Richards is likely to be out for up to a month with an ankle injury sustained on Olympic duty.
Joe Hart also sat out the Villa Park encounter but although his back strain has forced his withdawal from England's friendly international against Italy on Wednesday, it is unlikely to sideline him for City's opening League match at home to Southampton on Sunday.
Chelsea's Sturridge has also withdrawn from the England squad after sustaining a toe injury against City.