In their final group game of the Premier League International Cup, Man City dropped to second place after a 3-2 defeat.
In the shadow of Monday’s transfer deadline day, Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad threw away a two-goal lead in a 3-2 defeat to Leicester City in the Premier League International Cup. The superb comeback from the Midlands side saw them go top of Group C and complete a double over their English opponents.
Manchester City came flying out of the blocks and they opened the scoring after just four minutes. Winger Adam Drury, who has just returned from a loan spell at St. Mirren, proved the early threat to Leicester’s five-man defence. Released down the right by Mathias Bossaerts, Drury’s low cross was perfectly delivered and Jose Pozo was left unmarked in the box, the Spaniard applied the easy finish.
Patrick Vieira’s side were in complete control, and central midfielder Olivier Ntcham was dominating the middle of the park. His influence was obvious. The Frenchman released Jordy Hiwula down the left, but the former Yeovil Town loanee’s cross was too high with tiny Pozo waiting in the middle. Leicester were struggling to deal with Ntcham pulling the strings.
City’s second goal was a carbon copy of the first. Drury was again sent free down the right, he played in the low cross, but this time it was Ntcham who had been left all alone in the box, he doubled the home side’s lead with only 22 minutes on the clock.
After the second, City seemed to take their foot off the gas, but Leicester had shown nothing to suggest they could get back into the game. When Harry Panayiotou managed to flick the ball past City goalkeeper Ian Lawlor after a poorly defended corner, it felt like nothing more than an early consolation goal, but it sparked the Foxes into life.
Leicester came out after half time like a team possessed; they bossed possession and out-performed their Manchester opponents. A cross from the left found Simonas Stankevicius unmarked in the box, the big centre-forward levelled the scores with a textbook header.
Within the first 10 minutes of the second half, Leicester turned around the score. City struggled from set-pieces and it was from another that a scramble ensued, Panayiotou on hand to sneak home after the defence were lost.
The home fans were stunned, as were the young City players. Vieira threw on Bersant Celina and Denzeil Boadu, but Leicester’s defence looked much more organised and were able to hold off the home side’s advances.
It was a frustrating last 30 minutes for Manchester City. They couldn’t find a way past the Leicester defence, they continued to play high balls from wide right, but the centre-backs not faced with a centre-forward to mark, had an easy time of it.
Boadu had a great chance in injury time to level the scores, but his header from Drury’s cross was placed wide, despite it looking easier to score.
Although beaten, Manchester City still qualify for the knockout stages, although Leicester leapt above them into top spot. The last game in the other groups is on the 4th of March, after this, both English sides will discover who they will face in the quarter-finals. City look destined to face Scottish side Celtic.
FINAL SCORE: Manchester City 2-3 Leicester City
MCFC XI: 4-3-3 – Lawlor – Bossaerts, Maffeo, Plummer, Tasende – Glendon, Byrne, Ntcham – Drury, Pozo, Hiwula
LCFC XI: 5-2-3 – Maddison – Pearson, Davis, Sesay, Moore, Chillwell – Choudhury, McCourt – Dodoo, Panayiotou, Stankevicius