Samir Nasri smashed home a late winner for Manchester City as the EPL club saw off a determined Melbourne City 1-0 on Australia’s Gold Coast on Saturday night.
With clashes in the International Champions Cup against Roma and Real Madrid next week in Melbourne, the EPL outfit were given a testing workout against their affiliate club from the City Football Group.
After numerous chances for both sides the French international popped up in the 85th minute to see off the impressive A-League outfit.
Manuel Pellegrini was true to his word and started with a strong side including Vincent Kompany Sami Nasri, Jesus Navas and Yaya Toure.
Melbourne coach John van’ t Schip meanwhile handed a started trialist Jason Trifiro while EPL import Aaron Hughes was in the starting XI alongside Connor Chapman in the heart of the A-League side’s defence.
On a perfect day for football at Cbus Stadium, City started confidently but it was keeper Willy Caballero who almost ruined things with a comical error, his clearance hitting the back of a Melbourne player inside the box.
Only some desperate defending from Kompany cleared what should’ve been the opener.
The crowd was off its feet again minutes later after Chapman was deemed to have fouled Nasri on the edge of Melbourne’s box. Toure stepped up and rattled the crossbar with a stinging shot that had Tando Velaphi easily beaten.
Right winger Jesus Navas was giving young left back Jack Clisby a torrid time in the opening half hour as chances went begging for the Manchester club.
Nasri with a great chance after his give-and-go opened up Melbourne’s backline but the Frenchman’s scuffed shot dribbled wide.
It seemed only a matter of time before the English club took the lead but Melbourne should and could’ve stolen the lead after a City attack broke down. The swift counter saw Robbie Koren’s low cross fall to the feet of Stefan Mauk in the six-yar box but with the goal beckoning he blazed over when it was easier to score.
Spaniard Navas then shimmied and feinted past Clisby before blasting a vicious shot off the Melbourne crossbar. And after another mazy run the Spanish World Cup winner dragged his shot wide
City’s Pablo Maffeo earned the game’s first yellow after wrestling Harry Novillo to the ground. From the restart the Aussies swiftly moved the ball forward where Novillo wriggled clear just in the box and curled a beautiful shot that Caballero brilliantly tipped over.
Ref Strebre Delovski called an end to the first half after a glut of goalmouth action but no goals to show.
Young Brandon Barker smashed his shot wide for Manchester and Navas was again denied, this time by a brilliant Velaphi tip-over the bar as the chances kept flowing.
Melbourne were hanging on but substitute Stefan Zinni opened up the visitors down their left and his searching cross was found by the excellent Novillo, his trickery in the box creating enough space but he dinked his shot just wide of Caballero’s goal.
The Frenchman deservedly received big applause after he was subbed off minutes later.
City kept pushing for the decisive goal but Velaphi and his back four was proving a solid defensive wall. It was one-way traffic with the A-League outfit working their socks off to keep their defensive shape.
Substitute Lambadaridis came close for the A-League with an audacious curling effort before Nasri smashed home the opening goal after the ball fell to him perfectly in the box.
He smashed it home to end the resistance of Melbourne City.
The EPL club now head to Melbourne to face Roma and Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup.