SAN FRANCISCO — One team began their preseason on the right foot while another ended it on a low note as Manchester City topped Club América, 2-0, at AT&T Park in a Herbalife World Football Challenge tilt.
First-half goals from academy product Ryan McGivern and speed demon Shaun Wright-Phillips proved too much for the Mexican side to fight back from on a chilly afternoon in the Bay Area.
Playing on a converted baseball field, both teams failed to create anything significant in the opening quarter hour as the narrow pitch made play a bit convoluted.
Slowly but surely, both Manchester City and América found their footing on the pitch, but it was the defending FA Cup champions that had the first go at goal in the 13th minute. Forward Edin Dzeko took a pass from fellow new signing Gaël Clichy and rounded the goalkeeper, but with no angle to shoot, he sent in a cross that rolled in front of goal but was cleared away from danger.
América responded with their own effort just seconds later, when midfielder Daniel Montenegro stole the ball in Man City’s third but sent a harmless shot into the hands of goalie Joe Hart.
It wasn’t long after that that the Citizens got on the board. From the left flank, Clichy sent a cross to Wright-Phillips at the far post. After a nifty sombrero to get rid of a marker, Wright-Phillips’ shot was deflected by an Águilas defender. McGivern came up with the rebound at the edge of the box and curled his effort around a diving Armando Navarrete and inside the far post.
Ten minutes later, Man City doubled their lead by way of Wright-Phillips, whose speed troubled América’s back line all evening. After receiving a pass from Dzeko, the winger took aim between two defenders and, from 25 yards out, fired a shot past a diving Navarrete.
Manchester City made wholesale changes for the second half, bringing in 11 fresh players. Las Águilas took advantage of this in the opening minute of the second stanza and came close to scoring on three occasions but thwarted by substitute goalie Stuart Taylor.
In the 47th minute, Castillo tried his luck from outside the box, but Taylor went to a two-handed diving save to keep his goal from falling. Three minutes after, Taylor came up big again, this time stifling a point-blank header from Daniel Márquez. Finally, in the 53rd, Taylor rushed out of his line to force Matías Vuoso to shoot into the side netting.
Las Águilas went on to dominate for the rest of the half, but failed to create anything of note until the 88th minute, when Taylor errantly rushed off his line again and, after a series of bounces in the box, the defense managed to clear the ball away.
The Citizens nearly increased their lead with just seconds left in the match when, after a breakaway, second-half sub John Guidetti knocked a shot off the upright and out.
Manchester City next travel to Vancouver to face the Whitecaps in a Herbalife World Football Challenge match-up on Monday (10 pm ET; ESPN2, ESPN Deportes). América will return to Mexico to kick off their new season, but will return to the States on July 26 (to take on Italian power Juventus in another WFC tilt (7:30 pm ET; ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).