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Football: Manchester City win Barclays Asia Trophy, Spurs sink South China



July 27, 2013: Manchester City won the Barclays Asia Trophy at Hong Kong Stadium after Edin Dzeko’s superb ninth-minute goal secured a 1-0 win over a battling Sunderland side. Tottenham Hotspur earlier thumped South China 6-0, with Jermain Defoe grabbing a hat-trick.


Dzeko, who also scored the winner against South China on Wednesday, was named Player of the Tournament, but was guilty of a shocking penalty miss in the 65th minute, when he shot high and wide into the stands. However, his earlier accuracy ensured manager Manuel Pellegrini won his first trophy with City.


“I think the team each day is playing better, in the way I want,” Pellegrini said.


On a heavy pitch that deteriorated as heavy rain began to fall again shortly after kick-off, Sunderland started off the busier side, but it was the Blues who scored with their first real attack.


20130727_Dzeko goal by mcfc.coA lofted ball into the box by Yaya Toure was headed by Sunderland centre-back Wes Brown to the edge of the arc, where a lurking Dzeko (pictured) smashed the bouncing ball into the corner of the net with a beautiful left-foot strike.


Dzeko set up strike partner Alvaro Negredo in the 31st minute, but the Spaniard volleyed over. Sunderland’s best effort was a shot from Italy winger Emanuele Giaccherini in the 39th minute that went straight into the arms of Costel Pantilimon.


City almost went further ahead on the stroke of half-time when Craig Gardner’s diving headed clearance rattled the foot of his own post while he collided head first with the other.


City had a penalty in the 65th minute when Fernandinho, who had only been on the pitch for three minutes, cleverly flicked the ball up past El-Hadji Ba and the Sunderland man instinctively put his hand out. Dzeko stepped up, but amazingly sent his shot soaring into the stands.


Jesus Navas’s angled shot in the 77th minute was cleared off the line by Gardner, but as Sunderland pressed for an equaliser, Pantilimon made a great save from Seb Larsson’s free-kick in the 84th minute.


Earlier, Spurs routed South China as the lively Defoe stole the show against the Hong Kong champions, who failed to match the defensive organisation shown in their 1-0 loss to City.


Centre-back Sean Tse deflected Danny Rose’s cross into his own net for the opener before Defoe set up USA international Clint Dempsey for the second in the 34th minute. Defoe scored his first just before half-time after Kyle Walker’s deflected free-kick fell into his path outside the six-yard box.


20130727_bat_sc730f1aEarly in the second half, South China goalkeeper Zhang Chunhui kicked an attempted clearance straight into Defoe, with the striker running on to the ball and slotting an angled shot into an empty net.


The England striker secured his hat-trick when he ran onto Gylfi Sigurdsson’s through ball hit and slid the ball inside the near post with his left foot (pictured).


Andros Townsend completed the rout with five minutes remaining, curling a 20-yard free-kick across goal and into the bottom corner of the net.


The fans in Hong Kong Stadium were desperate to see South China score and they almost got their wish when De Souza Martins, South China’s best player, first forced Hugo Lloris into a spectacular diving save, before then dragging a shot wide of goal when one-on-one with the Frenchman in the closing minutes.

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