Pep Guardiola’s first game as Manchester City manager ended in a penalty shoot-out victory over Borussia Dortmund in the International Champions Cup at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in China.
Sergio Aguero’s 79th minute strike looked to have sealed the win for City, but a lapse inconcentartion helped Dortmund equalise in added time through Christian Pulisic.
The penalty shoot-out to decide the winner was dominated by young City goalkeeper Angus Gunn, who saved three and made the instrumental save to win the game.
One of Guardiola’s main trademarks throughout his managerial career has been his goalkeeper’s playing short from the back, but it nearly cost City in the opening nine minutes. Willy Caballero, who will fancy his chances of usurping Joe Hart as number one after the Englishman’s poor showing at Euro 2016, gave the ball straight to Emre Mor but the Turkish winger bent his left-footed shot wide from 20 yards out.
The Premier League side created their first chance a minute later when Jesus Navas raced free on the right wing and picked out Fabian Delph with his cut-back, but the former Aston Villa and Leeds United man sliced his shot well wide with his weaker right foot. Delph has been rumoured to be changing positions to centre-back under Guardiola, but started the game as an attacking midfielder for City in China.
It was a first half of few real chances and the expectant crowd had to wait until the verge of half-time for a clear-cut opportunity. Navas found the on-rushing Fernando in the penalty area and the midfielder peppered in a powerful cross that Kelechi Iheanacho did well to control, but the Nigerian was denied by Roman Burki from four yards out.
At half-time, both sides rang a number of changes causing the second half to kick off five minutes later than planned. The rearrangements caused the game to slow down with both sides failing to gel in their line-ups. Wilfried Bony went close to opening the scoring for City when he turned his defender nicely on the edge of the penalty area, but saw his powerful low shot pushed away by Burki.
It was City who looked the more likely to score as Bony went close again in the 67th minute. David Silva was playing in his preferred playmaker role and made a magical pass to find the former Swansea City forward into the penalty area. Bony spun and scooped his shot while off-balance, but the ball looped well over the Dortmund crossbar.
Up the other end, Dortmund wasted the best chance of the game with fourteen minutes to go. Gonzalo Castro ran onto a long ball and faced up to the Manchester City goalkeeper, but got his finish horribly wrong as he blazed into the stand from ten yards out. It was a costly miss as City made it 1-0 three minutes later.
It was a flowing passing move that was reminiscent of Guardiola’s past teams and it ended with Silva racing on to Yaya Toure’ through ball and squaring across the box. Aguero, who was a Copa America finalist with Argentina in the summer, was waiting to tap in from four yards and mark the first City goal under the new manager’s reign.
Unfortunately for the English side, victory would be not be within their reach as Dortmund equalised with seconds to go. Shinji Kagawa pulled the ball back for Pulisic to strike at goal, and he found the bottom corner from ten yards and took the game into a penalty shoot-out. In the end, City came out on top for the penalties as Gunn, a substitute goalkeeper, saved three and sealed the victory for Guardiola’s side.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)