Manchester City earned a season opening victory over Newcastle United thanks to a first half goal from David Silva and a late second goal from Sergio Agüero.The defending Premier League champions didn't look their best at times, but after their struggles on the road last season, a win away to start the year is a definite positive.
The opening ten minutes was like a boiling pot of water as Manchester City started calm, but slowly built up their intensity as they took control of the match. Samir Nasri created the first really good chance of the match in the 11th minute after a quick switch moved the ball onto his foot as he raced towards goal. Rather than dribbling closer, Nasri uncorked a hard shot from 25-years out that forced a good save from Tim Krul.
Newcastle held firm as the half progressed, helped in part of City's poor passing and general wastefulness on the attack.
At last though in the 38th minute, City finally connected their final pass and took the lead. Yaya Toure's lifted a wonderful long ball from midfield that floated over the defense and fell right on the foot of Eden Džeko. As two defenders collapsed on the striker, he found David Silva with a clever back heel pass as he made a run into the space created by the defenders over shifting to the left. Krul tried to close down Silva's angle but as he went to ground, the Spaniard fired the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 1-0.
Newcastle nearly got back in the match early in the second half after a chaotic moment in the Manchester City penalty area nearly led to the equalizer. After several attempts to clear the danger, the ball popped loose in front of Joe Hart, giving Remy Cabella a chance to close down. Thanks to a desperation tackle by a City defender, Cabella couldn't get a clean shot away, and the ball sailed well wide of the goal.
City came close a couple times to doubling their lead, but couldn't get their chances on target. Džeko failed to keep a close ranger header in the center of the box down in the 65th minute, pushing the ball just over he crossbar. Touré just missed with a free kick in the 73rd minute, sending just a bit too high.
Ayoze Pérez came within a whisker of pulling Newcastle even in the 84th minute after he got free behind the City back line on the break. After cutting back to avoid the first defender, Pérez's shot was deflected by a sliding Fernando, changing the flight of the ball just enough to send it wide of the post.
Sergio Agüero ended any hope for Newcastle in second half stoppage time, putting the match out of reach. After Krul blocked the striker's first shot, Agüero took advantage of the rebound coming right back to him as he fired the ball in to make it 2-0.
Considering that City's passing wasn't great at times, and their fitness looked even worse, one suspects Manuel Pellegrini will be happy with the result. Newcastle can walk away feeling good that they played the defending champions tough, but they'll certainly lament several missed chances to at least grab a point from the match.
Newcastle United: Krul, Dummett, Coloccini, Williamson, Janmaat, Anita (Obertan 63'), Colback, Gouffran (Aarons 74'), Cabella, Sissoho, Riviere (Pérez 84')
Manchester City: Hart, Kolarov, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Fernando, Touré, Silva, Jovetic (Fernandinho 73'), Nasri (Milner 78'), Dzeko (Agüero 82')
Goals: Silva (38'), Agüero (92')
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