City stars shine in Limerick
- Sun 05 Aug 2012, 8:50PM
- Posted by Chris Eccles
A predatory Edin Dzeko brace helped City to round off pre-season in style with a convincing 4-0 win over Limerick at Thomond Park.
On a chilly night by the banks of the broad, majestic Shannon, City won their final friendly ahead of the Community Shield with a flurry of first half goals which featured an Edin Dzeko brace and a close range finish from Dedryck Boyata.
A second half goal from Luca Scapuzzi completed the scoring for the Blues. Coming only 24 hours after the 2-0 win in Wolfsburg, Mancini opted for a blend of youth and experience with Edin Dzeko the only player retained in the starting eleven from that encounter.
Alongside Dzeko were four of the players who took part in Euro 2012, captain for the day Samir Nasri, James Milner, Gael Clichy, and Joleon Lescott as Roberto Mancini continued to test the 3-5-2 formation he has experimented with in pre-season games.
With the League of Ireland season already well under way, Limerick are sitting at the top of the Airtricity First Division, so City knew they were in for a tough assignment on their first visit to Limerick in 21 years.
The game, which was arranged to commemorate the club's 75th anniversary, had been moved from Jackman Park to the larger Thomond Park to cater for more than 20,000 fans keen to see the new Premier League champions in action and the supporters did not disappoint as they generated a lively atmosphere.
A spirited start saw a high clearance from Samir Nasri evade the entire Limerick back line, almost putting Roque Santa Cruz through on an open goal but the goalkeeper recovered just in time to spare his defence's blushes.
On the half hour, a weaving run from Milner created the space for the midfielder to roll the ball for Edin Dzeko who bundled the ball home from close range.
After 42 minutes Boyata received the ball from Suarez and calmly slotted home to double the Blues’ lead and, only a minute later, Edin Dzeko found himself clear of the Limerick defence, firing low and hard to put City 3-0 up.
The second half was played out at a more steady pace , only reigniting on 78 minutes when Scapuzzi fired home a fourth for the Blues.
Limerick began to press as the game wore on but were unable to find a way through a solid City defence.
As the season approaches, the game provided a useful workout for the returning senior players and allowed City fans the chance to see promising midfield performances from youngsters Denis Suarez and substitute Marco Lopes.
All eyes now turn to Villa Park on Sunday as City take on FA Cup winners Chelsea in the Community Shield.
City: Pantilimon, Boyata, Clichy, Lescott, Nasri (c) (Scapuzzi, 32), Evans (Wabara 57), Suarez, McGivern (Lopes HT), Milner (Mancini 73), Dzeko (Bunn 70), Santa Cruz ,(Facey 73)
City sub not used: Hart
Limerick (start): D Ryan, Klugar, Tracy, Treacy, Purcell (c), Gamble, Judge, McGawn, Foley, Bradley, Sheehan
Limerick subs: B Ryan, Cusack, Kelly, Guthrie, Behan, Broswan, Coughlan, Sheedy, O’Brien, Gaffney, McGrath, Cowpar, Collins, O’Donnell, Whitehead.