Jovetic strikes twice, Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho nets and Man City thump AC Milan
English Premier League champions Manchester City cruised to a 5-1 triumph over Italy’s AC Milan on Sunday in a weather-hit friendly at Heinz Field, home of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men stormed into an early 2-0 lead thanks to strikes from Stevan Jovetic in the 11th minute and Scott Sinclair in the 14th, the two making the most of a Milan defence that struggled with Manchester City’s pace down the right flank.
City continued to dominate and added a third as Jesus Navas’s acrobatic effort from outside the area was deflected past helpless Milan goalkeeper Michael Agazzi in the 23rd minute.
City added a fourth after 26 minutes when Nigerian teenager Kelechi Iheanacho, who has been training with the club for several weeks, picked the ball up on the edge of the box, turned and slotted it home.
Sulley Muntari pulled one back for Milan shortly before halftime, making it 4-1 going into the break which was extended as fans were cleared from the stands because of a heavy thunderstorm that brought lightning and a tornado warning.
The sides eventually emerged for the second half and the English outfit picked up where they had left off – Montenegro international Jovetic making it 5-1 in the 58th.
Former City striker Mario Balotelli, who sat out Milan’s 3-0 loss to Olympiakos in Toronto on Thursday, came on for the second half and had a goal ruled out for offside.
The match was part of the International Champions Cup, a collection of pre-season matches featuring eight European clubs all preparing for the start of their domestic campaigns.
At Soldier Field in Chicago, home of the NFL’s Bears, England international Raheem Sterling scored the only goal in Liverpool’s 1-0 victory over Olympiakos of Greece.
The winger struck after just five minutes, seizing upon a deflected strike by Daniel Sturridge and finishing.
Olympiakos came close to equalising, but Gevorg Ghazaryan was denied by the crossbar early in the second half.
A crowd of 36,170 turned out for the contest, in which Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers selected a starting side that included proven players such as Steven Gerrard, Sterling and Sturridge and also handed a maiden appearance for the club to recent recruit Lazar Markovic.
The result gave Liverpool a winning start to their International Champions Cup campaign, after they had fallen 1-0 to Roma in a friendly in Boston to start their North American tour.
Spanish champions Atletico Madrid were also stateside on Sunday for some pre-season action, taking a 4-3 win on penalties after playing to a 0-0 draw against Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes in San Francisco.
Saul scored in the fifth round of penalty kicks to lift Atletico. Guillherme Siqueira, Gabi and Mario Suarez also scored for Atletico in the tiebreaker. Sam Cronin, Shaun Francis and Brandon Barklage countered for the Earthquakes in front of 15,558 fans at the Copa Euroamericana game.
“I thought we played really well in the first half,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “There was a high rhythm and high pace to the game. The team was connecting well between the different lines. What we were lacking was finishing and putting in a goal. The second half, not so much. The intent is always there.
“Right now, we’re still forming the team. The squad is not close and the transfer window is still open so it’s kind of hard to say where we’re at at this point. Right now, we’re just calm and working hard. Once we do form the team we’ll have a better idea of how we’ll play.”
The match was notable as the last sports event scheduled at Candlestick Park, the stadium that was the home of baseball’s San Francisco Giants from 1960 until 2000 and has been the home of the NFL’s 49ers since 1971.
The 49ers are moving to their new Levi’s Stadium in nearby Santa Clara in the upcoming season.
Liverpool will face Manchester City on July 30 in Yankee Stadium and AC Milan on August 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Olympiakos finish Group B pool play August 2 against Manchester City in Minneapolis.
Group A features Manchester United, Roma, Real Madrid and Inter Milan.
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Updated: July 28, 2014 04:00 AM