Limerick 0 - 4 Manchester CityMon, Aug 06 2012
When this glamour fixture was announced three weeks ago it was billed as the battle of the Super Blues but there was little doubt at the end of a profitable evening for Limerick FC at Thomond Park that it was their millionaire opponents from the Premier League that brought the crowds out as Manchester City ended up comfortable 4-0 winners and the English champions’ pre-season campaign picked up the pace.
Yet for all the financial benefits and media exposure from this game for the Shannonsiders, the evening came at a price as goalkeeper Dave Ryan was stretchered off a minute before the break with a nasty knee injury after colliding with Edin Dzeko in the lead up to City’s third goal.
Pat Scully confirmed afterwards that he will have a scan on Monday morning but is expected to be out for three or four weeks at minimum.
While City’s first team were promised to appear when the friendly was announced last month, what lined-out in the end was a mixed bag of well-known faces and glimpses of their promising future; the likes of Samir Nasri and James Milner combining with the very impressive Denis Suarez, as well as the manager’s son Andrea Mancini who appeared for the final 15 minutes.
Dzeko looked quite off the pace in the opening stages but it wouldn’t have taken a striker hot on form to finish off the opening goal as Milner easily passed a stationary Shane Tracy before finding the Bosnian, who tapped in from four yards with the aid of the post.
Limerick, to their credit, kept the ball on the deck but defensive frailties in the five minutes leading up to the break cost them dearly as City plundered another two.
The first arrived from Dedryck Boyota at the back-post after a teasing cross from Denis Suarez caught the Lims defence out and just over 60 seconds later Dzeko nipped in to flick neatly past the onrushing Ryan after Shane Guthrie was robbed of possession.
Limerick made 12 changes in total and that impacted heavily on the second period. For City, the half was akin to a training ground exercise as they passed the ball around the back-four without coming under much pressure, although they did add a fourth when Luca Scapuzzi bundled home a rebounded effort after Harry Bunn hit the upright with 12 minutes to play.
Limerick: Dave Ryan (Shane Cusack 45 [Barry Ryan 70]); Robert Kluciar (Barry Sheedy 57), Pat Purcell (Shane Guthrie 38), Shane Tracy (Andrew Cowpar 74), Corie Tracy (Rory Gaffney 45); Stephen Bradley (Shaun Kelly ht), Jeffrey Judge (Dave McGrath 60), Joe Gamble (Sean Brosnan 45 [Derek O’Brien 78]), Steven McGann (Tony Whitehead 67); Dominic Foley (Garbhan Coughlan 45), Garry Sheahan (Denis Behan 45).
Man City: Costel Pantilimon; Dedryck Boyata, Joleon Lescott, Gael Clichy; James Milner (Andrea Mancini 74), George Evans (Reece Wabara 58), Denis Suarez, Ryan McGivern (Marcos Lopes 45); Samir Nasri (Luca Scapuzzi 32); Roque Santa Cruz (Shay Facey 74), Edin Dzeko (Harry Bunn 70).
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Denis Suarez (Manchester City).
Alan Smith has been writing for ExtraTime since 2008. He works as a full-time journalist based in Cork, working as a sub-editor for TCM and freelancing for a range of national titles. Follow him on twitter @alansmith90.