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4 August 2012
• VOLKSWAGEN ARENA, Wolfsburg
And that is just what they do. Full-time at the Volkswagen Arena and Manchester City have very solidly come through their final pre-season friendly before next Sunday's Community Shield against Chelsea. Very fine goals from Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure made the difference. Thanks for joining me tonight!
Roque Santa Cruz is half-heartedly searched out up front but Manchester City are just ticking down the clock now.
Wolfsburg still pushing for a late chance and Bas Dost cuts in from the right trying to make something happen, but it's cut out, as it so often has been. Manchester City have defended quite well here.
Those changes have livened Manchester City up slightly. The combination of youngsters and fresher-legged veterans has produced some actual attacking play from the visitors for the first time in a while. They force a corner but it's gradually shepherded away and back into the midfield tussle.
You'll never believe who came on for Sergio Aguero. A certain Mr Roque Santa Cruz. Remember him? Could do with a goal here to encourage a new employer.
Sergio Aguero came off the worse in that incident (a pretty nasty kick from behind) and is withdrawn as a precaution. It's one of several substitutions as Denis Suarez and Luca Scapuzzi are among those brought on. Carlos Tevez and Adam Johnson make way.
Emmanuel Pogatetz concedes a foul. A planet gasps.
Diego, again, finds a Manchester City shirt with precision from a corner.
Here he is! Edin Dzeko replaces Nigel de Jong. The spectators could probably do with this added interest to liven up a game now slightly cruising to its conclusion.
The hosts are, unsurprisingly, trying to give it to Diego as much as possible, but there's no joy. Manchester City are supremely unworried.
Wolfsburg win a corner but Diego's delivery is straight to a Manchester City head. The home side are putting the work in but there are few visible angles of real penetration open to them.
Sergio Aguero comes forward rather lazily, as Manchester City know how that they've got it in reserve to punish Wolfsburg if they really need to. Expect to see Edin Dzeko soon, I suspect.
Manchester City news not related specifically to this match: Micah Richards has gone off injured in Team GB's Olympic quarter-final against South Korea (still 1-1 there). We'll have more soon on Goal.com.
Schafer once again is in on the action, prompting a save from Joe Hart as he tries another ambitious shot advancing from left-back.
Some excitement in store, maybe, as talented Brazilian midfielder Diego coems on for Wolfsburg. The fans are audibly thrilled at a man who, I'm told, just recently mended some bridges with the club and coach Felix Magath. He replaces Yohandry Orozco, himself a substitute.
Great defensive work tracking back and tackling by makeshift wing-back Adam Johnson. I don't know that I ever expected to write that sentence.
The theme continues - Wolfsburg have been positive and mostly equal in possession but Manchester City clearly have that extra gear into which they can move when they want to.
Goal Yaya Touré
GOAL! Manchester City are two up! Carlos Tevez is again involved, thrusting forward into the defence and creating the space to bring Yaya Toure into play, who hits it solidly and fearlessly home.
...and as I type that, Carlos Tevez slips forward and stabs a subtle shot just wide of the post!
Ferhan Hasani is shown daylight between the defenders and opts to shoot from outside the area after Dost knocks it down, but it's chased down and blocked. The German outfit are on top so far this half...
There's a definite desire to get back into this match on the part of the home side. Some real energy being displayed in the tackle and resulting runs forward. Bas Dost's low pass from the right to Ivica Olic on such a run is cut out, however.
Schafer gets forward from deep and hits a thrilling snapshot with his left foot. It's great technique to watch but the effort itself has a little too much snarl and not enough precision, flying well wide.
Delightful, though spectacularly unnecessary, overhead kick from Aleksandar Kolarov to clear his lines! Pre-season, eh?
Looks like both sides are unchanged. Roberto Mancini must be taking a very close look at this group of players with the Community Shield now not far away at all.
Wolfsburg immediately swing a dangerous cross from the right to try to catch Joe Hart out of position but Abdul Razak is on hand to clear.
We're back underway!
The teams are emerging for the second half. There may well be a raft of changes - if so, we'll get to the bottom of just how many and who as quickly as possible.
Abdul Razak, the young Ivorian defensive midfielder, has been as impressive as anyone out there for Manchester City so far. It looks like he'll be making a few appearances in the first team this season.
Indeed so. Sergio Aguero's goal is the difference at half-time in the Volkswagen Arena, with Manchester City 1-0 up on Wolfsburg. Don't go anywhere.
Looks like a case of playing this half out now...
In the Team GB match, by the way, Aaron Ramsey has this time missed a penalty after scoring a first only shortly before. Make sure you're following that game LIVE! with us via the home page - but don't go anywhere from this one either! Get that tabbed browsing out.
The visitors naturally enthused by that goal not long before half-time. It's been a tight game but Man City's quality has been visible, though repressed, through their passages of possession.
Goal Sergio Agüero
GOAL! Sergio Aguero has the breakthrough as he breaks free from the midfield build-up. The Argentine glides through the defence as if they weren't there before calmly rolling the ball into the far corner. Great play.
Manchester City now calmly building possession in the midfield area. It's sensible, patient work.
Wolfsburg are kept at arm's length on their latest attacking endeavour until Ivica Olic is frustrated into shooting from distance. It's never been his strong point and he continues tradition by lumping far too high.
Team GB, by the way, have equalised from the penalty spot via Aaron Ramsey. 1-1 against South Korea in that Olympic quarter-final.
Yohandry Orozco, a Venezuela international, takes the forward's place. Good name.
Another substitution on the way for Wolfsburg as Helmes pulls up. Before that can happen, though, a useful move down the right comes to naught when Sergio Aguero's pass from inside the box is picked up by the German defence.
Man City are struggling for fluency up front and a lifted ball for Sergio Aguero is too heavy, falling into the arms of goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.
It looks like Petr Jiracek has picked up some kind of injury - no sense risking him further in a friendly, so Wolfsburg have brought on Ferhan Hasani in his place.
It's a midfield battle going on now as both sides still have yet to break out for one outstanding opportunity. Wolfsburg come forward again, Ivica Olic and Patrick Helmes scrapping in the area for possession, but they're fended off.
Meanwhile, in the Olympic Games, Team GB's men have just gone 1-0 down to South Korea in their quarter-final. You can find LIVE! coverage of that game as well as this one via the home page.
Aleksandar Kolarov advances in turn down the left but his cross towards the outstretched foot of Sergio Aguero is ever-so-slightly too powerful for the Argentine to control. Man City need to hold the ball for a minute or so to reassert their control.
Wolfsburg are winning the midfield battle now and Wagner advances from right-back thanks to the space that his colleagues forged there. He shoots not excessively wide, but Joe Hart's not worried.
Stefan Savic arrives with excellent timing to extinguish the danger of another searching long, cross-field ball by Wolfsburg, who are now firmly in the game.
Again, Helmes is involved and should get better contact at the far post as he stretches for Olic's cross with his head. Kolo Toure looked a little exposed aerially there but the Wolfsburg forward simply helps it on its pre-existing path wide.
The German side counter and the odds look quite good before Patrick Helmes prods a weak through-ball into the middle of nowhere. Chance spurned.
Hello! Sergio Aguero picks up the ball on the left flank and embarks on a slow-burning dribble inside and forward. Just as he builds into a crescendo, though, his shot is blocked.
Nervy for Manchester City. A long ball towards Bas Dost isn't dealt with too well as Kolo Toure and Stefan Savic (mainly the latter) are unwilling to stop it bouncing, which it does awkwardly. The hosts win a corner but Emmanuel Pogatetz heads waywardly.
Petr Jiracek, a star of Euro 2012 for Czech Republic, tries to press in the Man City box but the last touch is off the Wolfsburg man.
Signs of life from Wolfsburg as Ivica Olic, a new signing from Bayern Munich to replace, er, Bayern Munich-bound Mario Mandzukic, crosses from wide right towards Bas Dost, but the resulting header is straight to Kolo Toure rather than a team-mate.
Shot from Sergio Aguero! Yaya Toure slips the pass to Adam Johnson in lots of space on the right flank and, though the winger's squared delivery to Aguero in the middle was OK, it was a little conservative not to really attack the defence on his own. A by-product of his being deployed as a wing-back? At any rate, Aguero's effort is too weak and is saved.
Aguero is putting himself about a fair bit in the opening stages and gives away a foul after scrapping with multiple players, including Pogatetz.
It's straight out from Aleksandar Kolarov. "Pre-season" written all over that delivery.
Roberto Mancini's men are dominating possession in the early stages - you wouldn't know that they were the away side. Sergio Aguero gets a vague sight of goal and wins a corner.
City are continuing with their new-look 3-5-2 formation tonight - signs of things to come?
Carlos Tevez should probably do better to put away a smart, interlinking forward move for the away side, who have started quite promisingly.
Razak puts Manchester City's first shot comfortably wide from a fair distance out. The visitors, in their dashing maroon away kit, are providing a delightful colour combination with the hosts' bright green. The football fashionista in me is satisfied.
WOLFSBURG STARTING XI: Benaglio; Fagner, Naldo, Pogatetz, Schafer; Rodriguez, Knoche, Jiracek; Olic, Helmes, Dost
And here we go!
Former Middlesbrough bruiser Emmanuel Pogatetz features in defence for Wolfsburg tonight (full XI to come) - it's never so "friendly" with him around. Meanwhile, former VfL man Edin Dzeko is on the bench tonight but is expected to feature.
That's Roberto Mancini's side, looking close to full strength - particularly up front. No word yet on the Wolfsburg starting XI.
MANCHESTER CITY TEAM NEWS: Hart; Kolo Toure, Savic, Zabaleta; Johnson, De Jong, Yaya Toure, Razak, Kolarov; Tevez, Aguero
Good evening! Welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Manchester City's pre-season friendly away to Wolfsburg. I'm George Ankers and I'll be bringing you team news as soon as I get it.
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