City’s Sterling sinks W.Ham as Pogba shines in Utd win - GulfToday

City’s Sterling sinks W.Ham as Pogba shines in Utd win

Man.City

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling vies for the ball with West Ham United’s Aaron Cresswell during their friendly in Nanjing on Wednesday. Agence France-Presse

Raheem Sterling fired a double as the Premier League champions came from behind to beat West Ham United 4-1 in a match that also saw record Manchester City signing Rodri making his debut on Wednesday in China.

West Ham took the lead with a Mark Noble penalty before City levelled through David Silva, then Lukas Nmecha scored from the spot to give Pep Guardiola’s side the half-time lead.

England international Sterling, who enjoyed his best season last year for club and country, scored a brace in the second half as West Ham’s defence went AWOL in Nanjing.

Guardiola fielded a mixture of first-team regulars and reserves with Silva leading the side and Kevin De Bruyne, who missed most of last season injured, a second-half substitute.

He was joined after the break by German winger Leroy Sane, who has been linked with a big-money move to Bayern Munich.

Spanish international midfielder Rodri joined City earlier this month on a five-year deal from Atletico Madrid.

The 23-year-old officially became a City player a day after the La Liga club revealed the 70-million-euro ($78.5 million) release clause in his contract had been triggered.

City’s arrival in China for the Premier League Asia Trophy had been delayed by two days because of an “administrative issue”.

But if it bothered the English champions it did not show, Sterling sealing a handsome City win with composed finishes on the hour and then again soon after.

Meanwhile, Manchester City players will be allowed to decide who will captain them next season following the departure of long-time skipper Vincent Kompany, Guardiola said on Wednesday.

The captain’s armband is up for grabs at City after Kompany left at the end of last season after 11 years in Manchester to take up a player-coach role at Anderlecht, the club at which the 33-year-old started his career.

“We will choose the team captain. We will wait until everyone is back and they will choose their captain,” said Guardiola.

In the other match in the exhibition tournament, the scale of the task facing new head coach Steve Bruce was laid bare as Newcastle United were thrashed 4-0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Bruce, whose appointment was confirmed just hours before kick-off, will jet over to take charge of Newcastle’s next friendly, against West Ham, in Shanghai on Saturday.

It was only a low-key friendly, but the heavy defeat to Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves in Nanjing was more evidence that Newcastle are likely to be battling relegation this season. City face Wolves in the final.

Elsewhere in Perth, Paul Pogba shined as an under-pressure Manchester United stepped up their pre-season campaign with a 4-0 thrashing of old rivals Leeds on Wednesday.

United had faced criticism after an unconvincing 2-0 victory over a depleted Perth Glory on the weekend.

In a much-needed tonic, the Red Devils clinically dismantled Leeds, who have high hopes of returning to the English Premier League for the first time since 2004.

Pogba, who has been linked with a move to Juventus and Real Madrid, starred in United’s dominant first-half and was part of a pretty chain of passing to set up 17-year-old Mason Greenwood’s first senior goal in the seventh minute.

Greenwood’s energetic performance has the teenager in the frame for thesid Premier League opener against Chelsea on August 11, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.

“He’s got a chance. He’s more than capable and he’ll always be there in and around the box creating chances,” he told reporters after the match.

Moments later, a powerful strike from Pogba was well saved by goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

But it was only a matter of time before United broke through with a moment of magic in the 27th minute from Marcus Rashford, a livewire in the first half.

After a wondrous dribble past the lead-foot defence, the 21-year-old expertly tapped it past Casilla.

Solskjaer changed his entire lineup at half-time in a repeat of Saturday’s match against Perth.

United continued to dictate, with Phil Jones scoring a thumping header from a corner kick in the 51st minute.

Anthony Martial rounded out a spectacular performance in the 68th minute by converting a penalty after Tahith Chong was taken down in the box. The first clash in eight years between the one-time bitter enemies fizzled out, but a near capacity Perth Stadium crowd of 55,000 underlined the rivalry’s stature. Romelu Lukaku was once again absent fuelling speculation he had been dropped from the squad amid reports he was close to securing a move to Inter Milan.

United said the Belgian suffered a knock at training.

United will have further pre-season games against Inter Milan in Singapore on July 20 and Tottenham in Shanghai on July 25, while Leeds will head to Sydney to face Western Sydney Wanderers.

Agence France-Presse