Jack Grealish debuts in 1-0 Community Shield loss to Leicester
A Kelechi Iheanacho penalty handed Manchester City their first defeat of the season as Leicester City beat Pep Guardiola's side 1-0 in the 99th edition of The FA Community shield. The defeat took the light of Jack Grealish's first game for City after his £100 million move from Aston Villa.
It took an 88th-minute penalty to break the deadlock between the two sides – when it was broken, it was tough for City to draw even in the short time left. The current Premier League and FA Cup holders went head to head in what was an open game with both sides having opportunities to clinch victory.
Brendan Rodgers' side actually started the better of the two sides, despite not creating any clear chances early on. City came close through an Ilkay Gundogan free-kick, which was greatly saved by former Sky Blue's keeper, Kasper Schmeichel.
The first big chance of the game went to the FA Cup holders' way, Harvey Barnes drove at the City defence after his attempted ball was blocked by Ruben Dias. The ball then fell to the clinical Jamie Vardy, who poked the ball straight at Zach Steffen from short-range. A heart in the mouth moment for all City fans, in and out of Wembley.
City looked like they were struggling during the early part of the first half, nevertheless as the game went on they settled into their usual self, controlling the ball and tempo of the game. This is when a great chance came their way.
Samuel Edozie, who impressed in pre-season, made his debut for City and found himself with a great chance to open the scoring in the 27th minute. The ball was played across with Edozie glaring down on goal, inside the box, despite his inexperience most expected him to strike the ball into the far corner. Instead, Edozie lost his balance and the ball ended up far wide and into the packed Wembley stand.
Leicester pressed hard again at the end first-half and once again a big chance fell to Vardy. The ever-threatening Harvey Barnes crossed the ball to the back-post, straight past Nathan Ake, to Vardy who volleyed the ball back across goal only for Steffen to impressively save it onto the post. City managed to clear the ball to safety and then went the half-time whistle. 0-0.
Despite both sides having summer signings and a selection of senior players on the bench, neither side made a change at half-time and both carried on with how they started.
Two chances fell to the Premier League Champions early in the second half. The first to Gundogan, the ball was headed out from a City corner and the German international came onto it nicely, and after last season's scoring antics both sets of fans held their breath, but he disappointingly blazed the ball over the bar and slumped his head in dismay.
The other came from a corner, but a Leicester one this time. City cleared the ball and won the second, presenting an opportunity for Cole Palmer to play Riyad Mahrez through one on one, he did, superbly. Mahrez locked eyes with the Leicester keeper as he ran down onto the foxes' goal but Daniel Amartey swiftly caught up with the Algerian and caused him to blast his shot over.
Just six minutes later, the moment all City fans had been waiting for came. Jack Grealish came on and was granted his wish of playing for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola, The crowd roared, it was a truly immense moment.
He was impressive when he came on and Pep Guardiola had this to say:
"How can he build a relation when his mates are not here? He knows Kyle, Raz and Phil and they are back tomorrow. We just need to provide him and let him express his quality. He didn't come for 25 minutes, he came for 5-6 years."
That's true, the club signed Grealish for the current and the long-term. This is just the start.
Nothing much happened from then until the final incident, a few half chances came here and there but nothing significant. A half-chance fell to substitute, Ben Knight, who also made his debut after a good pre-season.
Then disaster struck for City and in particular Nathan Ake. Rodri played the ball back to Ake, who turned towards his own goal and was pickpocketed by Iheanacho. He consequently brought down the Nigeran, and referee, Paul Tierney, blew his whistle and pointed to the spot. City tried to contest the referee's decision, and in doing so Ruben Dias and Fernandihno gained a yellow card – but once VAR had its look there was only one decision, penalty Leicester. Kelechi stood up and slotted away into the top right and won Leicester the Community Shield.
The final whistle went and Leicester rejoiced in their third successive Wembley victory, City have lost their last two. It's a place City want to be playing but they're going to have to regain their winning touch in the capital.
Player ratings: Steffen (8) Cancelo (7) Dias (8) Ake (5) Mendy (7) Fernandino (6) Palmer (7) Gundogan (7) Edozie (7.5) Torres (6) Mahrez (6)
Substitutes: Grealish (7) Rodri (6) Bernardo Silva (6) Knight (6)
Man of the Match: Zack Steffen
It may have only been a friendly but this defeat will hurt Guardiola and his squad. They'll need to dust themselves and go again for next week back down in London, away at Spurs. A few more first-teamers will be in and around the squad but Edozie and Palmer certainly did enough to play on Pep's mind.
This was the start of the Jack Grealish era, it was for a trophy but on the wrong side of the final result. Many more finals will come for Grealish and City, lets hope the result changes in the next.
Written by: @Tom72ii
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