VANCOUVER, B.C. — A largely first-string Vancouver Whitecaps squad put the scare into Manchester City at Empire Field in the first half on Monday, but a world-class goal from England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips in the second half secured the blue side of Manchester a 2-1 win in the World Football Challenge.
The Whitecaps started strongly in the first half, keeping 54.9 percent of the ball and taking 13 shots at Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Five of those shots were on target and England’s No. 1 had to look sharp right from the start, as Whitecaps striker Eric Hassli forced Hart to push the ball over the bar with a long-range effort only three minutes into the match.
Perhaps Hart’s biggest save of the first half happened 20 minutes in following Mustapha Jarju earning his team a free kick. Camilo Sanvezzo stepped up to take it and curled a powerful effort toward the bottom right corner, but the big Englishman showed his pedigree by stretching to push the ball out for a corner.
Ten minutes later, Empire Field erupted as Camilo scored a deflected effort off of Manchester City defender Stefan Savic. The Brazilian attacker started the play by hitting a penetrating pass over to Shea Salinas on the right wing, and the Texan ran down the line before passing it back into the middle for Camilo to strike from distance. The deflected goal had a hint of fortune about it but it was a well-constructed play and the Whitecaps were full value for the goal.
Manchester City’s best chance of the half happened six minutes before from half-time, as Ryan McGivern crossed to the rushing Adam Johnson, but the England international missed from close range, scuffing his shot.
City showed their intent shortly after the break as Vladimir Weiss curled a shot from outside the box that nearly found the top right corner, but Nolly was equal to the task, palming away with his right hand.
In the 68th minute a powerful John Guidetti header turned out to be too much for Nolly, and found its way into the back of the ‘Caps net to bring the teams level at one goal apiece. Manager Roberto Mancini’s son Andrea found the Swede and it looked as though Mario Balotelli was closer to disrupting the play than the Whitecaps defense.
But the real highlight of the match came in the 84th minute, as Wright-Phillips showed his pedigree with a world-class long-range effort to give his team a 2-1 lead. Nolly had no chance on the play as the ball was hit with power and precision right into the top left corner.
City continued to pile on the pressure near the end, but a couple of stops from Nolly meant the match ended 2-1 for the Citizens.
The Whitecaps now turn their focus to Major League Soccer play on the road at Buck Shaw stadium on Wednesday against the seventh placed team in the Western Conference, the San Jose Earthquakes.
Manchester City, for their part, continue their preparations for their Premier League and Champions League campaigns with another Herbalife World Football Challenge match against LA Galaxy on Sunday at the Home Depot Center.
VAN -- Camilo (Shea Salinas) 30
MAN -- John Guidetti (Andrea Mancini) 68
MAN -- Shaun Wright-Phillips (John Guidetti) 84
VAN -- Michael Nanchoff (caution) 90
Vancouver Whitecaps FC -- Jay Nolly; Jeb Brovsky (Wes Knight 45'), Michael Boxall (Greg Janicki 45'), Alain Rochat (Bilal Duckett 45'), Jonathan Leathers (Jordan Harvey 45'); Shea Salinas (Nizar Khalfan 45'), Pete Vagenas (Philippe Davies 45'), Gershon Koffie (Alexandre Morfaw 45', Blake Wagner 85'), Camilo (Michael Nanchoff 45'); Eric Hassli (Omar Salgado 45'), Mustapha Jarju (Long Tan 45')
Subs not used: Joe Cannon, Brian Sylvestre, Davide Chiumiento
Manchester City FC -- Joe Hart (Stuart Taylor 45'); Dedryck Boyata, Stefan Savić (Frederic Veseli 62'), Vincent Kompany (Joleon Lescott 45'), Aleksandar Kolarov (Gaël Clichy 45'); Adam Johnson (Shaun Wright-Phillips 45'), Nigel de Jong (Gareth Barry 45'), Yaya Touré (James Milner 45'), Vladimir Weiss (Andrea Mancini 62'),Ryan McGivern (John Guidetti 45'); Edin Džeko (Mario Balotelli 45')
Subs not used: none