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August 5, 2012 11:30 PM IST
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Limerick FC 0-4 Manchester City: Dzeko scores twice as Premier League champions cruise to victory in Ireland

The Blues strolled to an easy pre-season win with two goals from the Bosnian and further efforts from Dedryck Boyata and Luca Scapuzzi spoiling the Irish side's 75th anniversary

By Andy Sixsmith

Edin Dzeko - Manchester City
Getty Images
Premier League champions Manchester City completed their pre-season schedule with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Irish side Limerick FC on Sunday evening.

Limerick were celebrating their 75th anniversary but Roberto Mancini's side were in no mood to join the party, producing a clinical display to warm up for their upcoming Community Shield match against Chelsea.

Three quick-fire goals before half time from Edin Dzeko, who bagged a double, and Dedryck Boyata set the tone of the match before Luca Scapuzzi claimed a fourth with 12 minutes remaining to add a gloss to the scoreline.

Having beaten Wolfsburg 2-0 on Saturday, Mancini unsurprisingly opted to rotate his entire starting XI with names such as Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko and Joleon Lescott given an opportunity to gain some match fitness alongside youngsters Ryan McGivern and Denis Suarez.

Limerick, on the other hand, are currently in the middle of their season and are three points clear at the top of the Airtricity League First Division. They named a strong side, despite having a semi-final against Shamrock Rovers in the EA Sports Cup looming on Monday.

Dominic Foley came in up front for the Irish side in place of the injured Denis Behan while captain Pat Purcell returned to the starting line-up.

At a vociferous Thomond Park, City dominated the early possession without showing any real fluency or incisiveness and subsequently created few chances despite their control.
That was until the 11th minute, when slick build up pay between Dzeko and McGivern allowed the 22-year-old to get his shot away, but he could only hit the side netting.

The home side were sticking to their guns against their more illustrious opponents, proving tenacious and enthusiastic in midfield without making any inroads into the City defence.

Mancini's side continued to probe and after a long ball stretched the Limerick defence, Dzeko's dangerous cut-back was blocked before James Milner could connect.

City were building up a head of steam and after some delightful trickery from Gael Clichy, his low centre was glanced wide by Dzeko.

The mounting pressure paid off in the 33rd minute. Milner broke down the right wing and tricked his way past the Limerick left-back, Corie Treacy. His precise cut-back found Dzeko and the Bosnian netted from close range, despite the best efforts of goalkeeper David Ryan.

City were starting to settle into their stride and some fluid link-up play saw substitute Luca Scapuzzi clip a perfectly weighted ball through for Denis Suarez. The Spaniard beat the goalkeeper but saw his chip strike the outside of the post and roll behind.

The Premier League champions did not have to wait long, though, to double their lead. From a short corner, the Limerick defence fell asleep and Suarez's inch perfect centre found an unmarked Dedryck Boyata at the far post, who volleyed the ball home.

And it got worse for the home side on the stroke of half-time as an error on the edge of their own penalty area was punished. Dzeko nicked the ball off of centre-back Shane Guthrie before slotting past Ryan for City's third.

As if the goal wasn't sufficient punishment, Ryan fell awkwardly in his attempt to stop Dzeko's shot and was stretchered off to be replaced by Shane Cusack as the half-time whistle blew at Thomond Park.

After an explosive end to the first half, City seemed content to simply maintain possession after the break, especially with changes made by both sides.

Clichy was having an impressive match and just past the hour mark he whipped another superb cross into the middle, only for Roque Santa Cruz to miscontrol with the goal at his mercy.

Following a further raft of substitutions by both sides, the game fell into something of a lull with the only action of note being Milner's 25-yard free-kick that fizzed inches over the bar.

But more farcical defending allowed City to add a fourth in the 78th minute. The Limerick defence failed to clear their lines and the effervescent Scapuzzi was on hand to fire past substitute goalkeeper Barry Ryan after an initial shot struck the post.

The Thomand Park faithful were desperate to see at least a consolation from their side and Limerick almost obliged when Guthrie acrobatically hooked a volley just wide of the under-worked Costel Pantilimon's goal.

But City closed out the match in relative comfort and can now look ahead to their Community Shield clash with Chelsea next Sunday at Wembley.

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