City stroll past Salzburg
Man City made a winning start to their Europa League group campaign by brushing aside Salzburg 2-0.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 16/09/10 10:12pm
Manchester City made a winning start to their Europa League group campaign by cruising to a 2-0 victory over Red Bull Salzburg.
City barely broke a sweat in Salzburg as the Austrian champions posed few problems for the big-spending Blues, who have set their sights on winning this season's competition after missing out on the Champions League.
David Silva was recalled and the Spanish playmaker swept City into an eighth-minute lead with his first goal for the club and the summer signing should have claimed his second just before the break.
But Brazilian striker Jo sealed victory as he doubled the advantage in the 63rd minute with his first City goal in two years.
Salzburg were the only team to win all six group games in last season's competition - beating the likes of Lazio and Villarreal home and away before being knocked out in the round of 32.
Yet they offered very little resistance against a City side that goes straight to the top of Group A ahead of Juventus, who were held to a 3-3 draw at home to Polish minnows Lech Poznan.
City made six changes to the side which drew 1-1 with Blackburn on Saturday with Jo handed his first start for the Blues since December 2008 alongside Carlos Tevez, while Silva was recalled behind the front two.
Silva has had a stuttering start to his City career having missed the start of pre-season after being in Spain's World Cup-winning squad, while the two international breaks since then have seen Silva travel to Mexico and Argentina with the Spain squad.
But Mancini gave the 24-year-old his first start since the play-off first leg against FC Timisoara and he took little time to give a glimpse of why the Italian coach splashed out £26million on him this summer.
Left-back Wayne Bridge, back from injury for his first game this season, turned a low cross back into the box where Ibrahim Sekagya challenged Jo and poked the ball towards Silva, who sidefooted past Gerhard Tremmel right-footed from 14 yards.
Tevez failed to turn another Bridge cross towards goal before twice testing the home keeper in the first half while City centre-halves Kolo Toure and Vincent Kompany dealt competently with the little that Salzburg threw at them.
And Silva should have given City a two-goal cushion at half-time after Gareth Barry's fine pass found Tevez on the edge of the Salzburg box.
The Argentina striker laid it off for the former Valencia man, who chose to check back inside on his left foot rather than shooting and his tame effort was turned wide by Tremmel.
Salzburg rallied briefly after the break but City soon assumed complete dominance of proceedings before Jo gave them some breathing space.
City played short free-kick on the left wing to Nigel de Jong, who rolled it into Silva 25 yards out.
His lay-off found Tevez and although his fierce drive was parried by Tremmel, Jo was on hand to bundle the rebound past the home keeper and confirm his City return.
Just six months after a £17million move from CSKA Moscow in the summer of 2008, he was sent on loan to Everton and he was expected to move on this summer after a further loan spell at Galatasaray last season.
But the 23-year-old has stuck around and done enough to earn a place in both Mancini's Premier League and European squads.
Midfielder Nikola Pokrivac flashed a free-kick wide for Salzburg after Kolo Toure was shown a harsh yellow card.But City could have extended their lead late on as both Tevez and Silva fired wide as the Blues eased home to give their long-suffering fans plenty to feel positive about ahead of the visit of Italian giants Juve in two weeks' time.
|Red Bull Salzburg||Team Statistics||Manchester City|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|0||Shots on Target||7|
|6||Shots off Target||4|