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Saturday August 8, 2009Manchester City 2-1 Celtic

By William Wood | In Match Reports - Home Games

Manchester City put in a solid display against Celtic at the City of Manchester stadium, securing a 2-1 victory as they stepped ever closer to the beginning of the Premier League season.

It was City who started the brighter of the two teams, Shaun Wright-Phillips looking to break the deadlock with an effort form just outside the box which was blocked.

As both teams toiled, Mark Hughes’ men did find an opening after 15 minutes. Pablo Zabaleta chipped in the cross and summer signing Gareth Barry was on hand to direct the ball home to send the home fans into raptures.

Worryingly for Hughes, another new recruit, Kolo Toure, had to come off with an injury, and the knock-back coincided with a lull in the half.

Patrick McCourt went close to levelling the scores, demanding a fine save from Shay Given after a well-executed header, and they were finally rewarded for their efforts when Chris Killen – against his former club – equalised with a shot low into the right-hand corner of the goal.

Celtic continued to press, Georgios Samaras – another former Eastlander – striking on target only for his effort to be blocked by City’s stern defence, and the first 45 minutes petered to a close with the sides one goal apiece.

The visitors returned in much the same vein as during the latter stages of the first-half, with Koki Mizuno missing the target by inches within the first couple of minutes.

Robinho then went close with a shot that lacked the accuracy to beat Celtic’s stopper, though City had regained the lead five minutes after the re-start.

Craig Bellamy controlled the ball before slotting it into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal, though Celtic and Samaras in particular looking lively.

The rhythm of the game was broken up by petty fouls as City looked to hold on to their lead, though Daniel Fox’s effort was well-saved by the ever-reliable Given.

And as the final whistle blew, Hughes could take satisfaction from the ever-improving side he observed from the touchline, with the new season just around the corner.