Kaizer Chiefs 1 City 0

A largely disappointing performance from City this afternoon resulted in South Africa's Kaizer Chiefs winning the hardly prestigious Vodacom Challenge Cup in Pretoria. Recent signing Emmanuel Adebayor started upfront with Craig Bellamy, ahead of a four-man midfield of Barry, De Jong, Wright-Phillips and Petrov, with Richard Dunne, Nedum Onuoha & Shay Given making their first appearances of the tournament, with Wayne Bridge & Javan Vidal occupying the full-back positions.

The game started extremely slowly, very little happening for the first twenty minutes or so, Javan Vidal being stretchered off after picking up what looked like a serious injury when going in for a ball with the Chiefs 'keeper being the only real talking point, Tal Ben Haim replaced him and looked solid enough. Adebayor had a lot of the ball, dropping back into midfield to start moves, and linking up well with Martin Petrov down the left, including a couple of good one-two's. Infact, most of what did during the first period came down that side, with SWP quiet on the right.

The Africans took the lead just before half-time from a corner after Given had made a good save after a shot from just outside the box. Tal Ben Haim managed to get his head to the inswinger, but the ball landed at the feet of Jeffrey Ntuka at the far post, who scrambled the ball into the opposite corner, possibly controlling with his arm beforehand.

After the break City saw more of the ball, with Gareth Barry in particular beginning to pull the strings, and spreading play around nicely. The Chiefs sat back and let us come forward, but as on many occasions away from home last season, we had plenty of possession without looking like creating any real opportunities. Adebayor put himself about and proved to be a good outlet on the break, but should have probably done better with one effort, having got into space on the right he had two opportunities to find Bellamy in the centre, failing on both occasions before blazing over.

Overall it was quite a disjointed performance. Though hardly the end of the world, and despite being without several players who will make up our strongest side this season, namely Ireland and Tevez, i had hoped to see signs that we're likely to improve on our poor showings away from Eastlands over the last year - are we stronger defending set-pieces?, can we pass through sides without reverting back to type when pressured, playing backwards and hoofing the ball up to no-one?, and can we make breakthroughs when we're perhaps up against more physical sides? We didn't really do anything to answer any of these questions today, but with three more run-outs before the season opener at Blackburn, perhaps there's encouragement to come.

Given, Vidal (Ben Haim 15), Bridge, Dunne (Zabaleta 32), Onuoha (Weiss 75), De Jong, SWP, Barry, Bellamy, Adebayor, Petrov (Robinho 57)

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