By William Wood | In Match Reports - Away Games
Manchester City secured their first trophy under Mark Hughes’ reign as they secured a 1-0 victory over Barcelona at Camp Nou in the annual Joan Gamper Trophy match.
Hughes opted to rest several first-team players including Micah and Emmanuel Adebayor, while the hosts began the game with an inexperienced side before calling on their big guns for the second half.
Yaya Toure, playing against his older brother Kolo for the home side, had the first chance of the match, watching as his shot was deflected behind for a corner with seven minutes on the clock.
Former Bolton Wanderers and Chelsea forward Eidur Gudjohnsen was next to threaten the deadlock before Shay Given made a solid stop, while City finally got their foot on the ball with a fine passing move which broke down with Pablo Zabaleta in Barca’s penalty area.
A period of inactivity followed before Jeffren Suarez jinked his way down the right-flank, turning Zabaleta and striking a shot which required the full attention of Given.
Against the run of play in light of Barca’s greater percentage of possession, however, Martin Petrov found the back of the net. Stephen Ireland’s exquisite through-ball released the Bulgaria international and the midfielder curled the ball home to silence the home crowd.
Josep Guardiola and his team were shocked by the turn of events and their
rhythm became increasingly disjointed as the game approached half-time, while Micah and the rest of the substitutes watched City stifle their opponents at every opportunity.
The La Liga side called upon reinforcements for the second-half, with Lionel Messi, Dani Alves and summer arrival Zlatan Ibrahimovic brought on to join proceedings.
However, it was The Eastlanders who could have doubled their advantage within a minute of the re-start when Gareth Barry connected with a cross at the far-post, only for the ball to fly just wide.
Barca’s Swedish striker looked the most likely to find an equaliser, and he went close with his first effort after beating Richard Dunne in the air only for the ball to drop wide, while a long-range effort had Given beaten but not the crossbar.
The former Inter Milan striker forced a quick-fire stop from the Republic of Ireland stopper three minutes later before a well-struck shot from 25 yards was right Given’s throat.
With a minute of normal time remaining, Ibrahimovic thought he had managed to turn the ball home with a deft backheel only for Nedum Onuoha to stop the ball short, though Messi went inches closer as his left-footed drive rebounded off the post.
And with the clock ticking away, Craig Bellamy broke through on goal only to spurn the one-one-one, but it mattered not as Hughes and his men secured their first piece of silverware – albeit a token piece – which they will hope to use to inspire further success over the coming campaign.