It’s international friendly time! Fresh as daisies off their 2nd place league campaign, Manchester City are (briefly) in town to
sell some shirts, expand the brand, thrill the locals with a great exhibition of football. Just before kick off and the crowd is sparse, there’s a few sections full of Man City fans, and one section full of drunk women in matching shirts, some of them with sashes and tiaras, and topless men with glittery chests, all of whom seem to be confusedly saying to themselves ‘wait…THIS is Man City?’ and looking very disappointed. As for the TFC fans, they’re expected to straggle in throughout the first half, if it doesn’t rain.
The big news is many of the stars are here, Aguero! Hart! Dzeko! and many others are right here at BMO Field. They’re on the bench due to what have been described as minor injuries, so hopefully they’ll be fit enough to play a part in the second half. In their absence, the starting lineup is made up of a cast of City legends that were initially supposed to be doing publicity work, hanging out at Opera Bobs.
Starting XI: Bert Trautmann; Ian Brightwell, Andy Hinchcliffe, Paul Power, Andy Morrison (c); Georgi Kinkladze, Tommy Hutchinson, Terry Dunfield, Francis Lee; Mario Balotelli, Shaun Goater
Subs: Hart, Kompany, Toure, Aguero, Silva, Dzeko, Bony, Weaver, Dickov, Marsh, Jo, Rosler, Law
Meanwhile Toronto FC are taking this very seriously. It’s a big game and the players are looking forward to testing themselves against a great team! After losing last year’s game against Tottenham, they’re determined to give their fans something to cheer about and it’s a strong starting lineup put out by Greg Vanney.
The Captain Morgan, Hyundai, Steeles Paint Starting XI brought to you by Tottenham Hotspur: Konopka; Morgan, Perquis, Zavaleta, Morrow; Cheyrou, Creavalle, Bradley, Osorio; Giovinco, Moore
Subs: Roberts, all of TFC II, Gabe Gala, Andrea Lombardo, Bright Dike, the entire under 12 team that just tied with Barcelona
Pre game there’s a touching ceremony for Terry Dunfield, as he’s presented with a framed set of sock tassels, Man City Blue, TFC Red and Canada Red, by Tim Bezbatchenko, who gets booed by a portion of the crowd.
Now, on to the game
Goal: 4′ – City have been putting on the pressure early, and win a free kick out on the wing. Hinchcliffe whips in a free kick and Tommy Hutchinson scores. Man City 1-0 Our City
8′- Georgi Kinkladze is running the show, repeatedly dribbling around TFC’s midfield before playing in Balotelli who refuses to run for the ball and the chance goes begging.
11′ – Sebastian Giovinco takes a page out of Kinkladze’s book and jinks past a couple of players before Terry Dunfield cynically brings him down. Giovinco goes to take the quick free kick but Dunfield stands in front of the ball, then picks it up and puts it under his shirt, runs around a bit and falls to the ground feigning cramp, allowing City to get set to defend the free kick. Giovinco’s free kick is saved by Trautmann, resplendent in a fine cloth cap.
14′ Giovinco again runs at the City defence, making them look a bit silly, before Andy Morrison decides he’s seen more than enough of this and sorts it out by brutally hacking him down.
SUB: 16′ – Giovinco is stretchered off with a broken leg, his season ended. Bright Dike enters the game.
Goal 17; – Benoit Cheyrou takes the ensuing free kick and the ball deflects off Tommy Hutchinson in the wall to make it 1-1. Man City 1 – 1 Our City.
Penalty: 22′ – Kinkladze again dribbles through the midfield, and plays a ball through for Francis Lee. Damien Perquis closes him down, Lee goes to ground and the ref gives a penalty.
Replays show that there was no contact, a clear dive from Lee.
Goal 24′ – After the protests, Shaun Goater knocks home the penalty. Balotelli icily stares at him the whole time and doesn’t join in the celebration. Man City 2-1 Our City
Nothing happens for a long time, TFC are huffing and puffing but can’t break down the defence, while City are strolling through the game no problem.
Goal: 38′ – Dunfield gets the ball at about the half way line and runs forward unchallenged. He eventually shoots form 25 yards out and the ball flies in the top corner. He races wild eyed to the South stand and jumps at the crowd. Fans hug him, beers are spilt, a balding gentleman slaps his arse with one hand while holding up his beer in the other hand. Scenes! Man City 3-1 Our City
40′ – Bright Dike chases a ball, so does Trautmann and he comes off worse. He gets up, woozily holding his neck. Pellegrini looks to Joe Hart on the bench, but Hart waves vaguely at his left leg, makes a wincing face, shakes his head and goes back to his phone on the bench, seemingly making a distinctive swipe right motion. Trautmann stays in.
Half Time mood: Festive. City and their fans are having a lot of fun. At half time, TV viewers are told how just this morning Gabe Gala was showing a condo in Liberty Village and ran into Greg Vanney who invited him to be part of the roster for this game. Heartwarming stuff. Real class from Vanney
Subs: A lot of them, Gala, Andrea Lombardo and a whole bunch of TFC II players come on for TFC, as does Terry Dunfield who’ll play the 2nd half in Red. Michael Bradley also stays in the game, as he’s a man damnit, and refuses to show weakness. rest is for little kids!
As for Man City, The current players are all still on the bench, still not looking up from their mobiles, they actually didn’t even notice half time, but Jo replaces Hutchinson, and Rosler replaces Goater.
50′ – TFC’s youngsters have started brightly and almost score as a weak Chris Manella shot rolls past a visibly uncomfortable Trautmann but hits the post. Trautmann’s clearly not right here, Pellegrini looks to Hart again, who waves vaguely at his right leg and grimaces then goes back to his phone. Nicky Weaver however has his gloves on and ready to go, but no, Trautmann waves him off. He’s staying in!
61′ – Lombardo is put through on goal, but Trautmann makes a heroic save, falling over to his left and blocking the ball. He’s unconscious, but is eventually revived and stays in net, refusing to acknowledge the substitution board held up by Pelligrini.
Sub: 72′ – City are cruising home, and decide to make a substitution, bringing Rodney Marsh in for Francis Lee.
Goal: 73′ – Marsh delights the crowd with some keepy uppys, but is robbed of the ball and TFC break, The ball bounces off Trautmann and Gabe Gala scores, surely just a consolation, but what a story for the young player. Man City 3-2 Our City
Trautmann really is not looking good out there, his cap keeps falling off as he can’t hold his head up straight. Again though he refuses the sub, Weaver sitting back down in frustration.
Goal: 77′ – Lombardo makes it 3-3. Remarkable stuff and it’s game on now, the late arriving few thousand TFC fans very much into it.
7 minutes of injury time: Trautmann’s needed a lot of treatment, so fair enough.
Goal 90 + 2′ – A free kick into the box, Dunfield heads towards goal and Trautmann’s just sat on the ground leaning against the goal post so it’s in. TFC lead 4-3! Dunfield goes crazy! The crowd goes wild! A man in a beige suit invades the pitch, kind of running/skipping/dancing, with his hands above his head, it’s David Pleat! What a night this is!
Sub: Confident of victory, TFC sub on the entire under 12 team that just tied with Barcelona. Adorable.
Red card: 90+4′ City play along and allow the under 12’s to play a little bit, letting them look good, what sportsmanship. But uh-oh, Balotelli wants nothing to do with this and lunges in with a hard sliding tackle. The ref shows him the red card, after 5 minutes he finally leaves the field. As it’s a friendly, the ref allows City to sub on a replacement, it’s Paul Dickov.
Goal: 90+ 8′ City desperately throw the ball forward and it breaks to Dickov on the edge of the box and he hammers it high to the near post and in over the despairing reach of the 12 year old goalie. What a turnaround! Mo Johnston races on the pitch to try and sign Dickov, but he successfully eludes him.
Penalty shoot out. Trautmann is finally too hurt to put up a fight and City bring on Nicky Weaver for the shootout to decide it. Weaver saves 3 out of 4 attempts from the 12 year olds to increasing discontent from the home crowd, with Stefano Capano the only one to beat him, with a cheeky Panenka no less. Then Denis Law (when did he come on?) steps up to take City’s 4th penalty and he backheels it in before trudging off almost apologetically as the disconsolate home crowd leaves the stadium.
TFC lose another heartbreaker, but have undoubtedly earned the respect of millions over in the UK.
As for City, it’s on to Houston, Thursday’s papers lead with news of Dunfield, Morrison and Silva’s exploits at Club Escobar. Disappointing