NEWCASTLE UNITED 0, MANCHESTER CITY 2
Goals by David Silva and Sergio Aguero sealed victory for Manchester City who began their title defence with a tenth win in a row against Newcastle United at St James’ Park.
The home side, who paid an emotional tribute before kick-off to fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney who died on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 earlier in the summer, forced the Barclays Premier League champions to work hard in front of a packed crowd of 50,816.
City were missing some of their most influential players through injury and late returns from the World Cup but they fought for every ball, attracting five bookings during the game including one for Fernando who started for City after his arrival from Porto this summer.
City’s manager Manuel Pellegrini had stressed after the game that the players had to be both hungry and humble to improve and continue winning titles and City did just that.
An injury time goal by Aguero finally put an end to a late and spirited Newcastle United rally after Silva had put Manchester City into the lead late in the first half.
Stevan Jovetic was handed a start after impressing during City’s pre-season campaign and he almost gave his strike partner Edin Dzeko a memorable opening goal after putting the Bosnian through with a cute reverse pass. Dzeko’s effort was saved by Tim Krul.
Jovetic and Silva were highly impressive figures on the ball for City as Newcastle tried to frustrate the visitors.
Michael Williamson was on hand to deny Jovetic with a block and Krul dived to save Samir Nasri’s shot as City toiled in the first half.
City finally took the lead after 38 minutes in a move started by Yaya Toure’s chipped pass.
Dzeko turned provider with a clever backheel which took two Newcastle defenders out and put Silva through for a delightful opening goal.
Despite competing with City throughout the game the Magpies were unable to properly test Joe Hart in the City goal.
They had to go all-out attack towards the end and saw substitute Ayoze Perez’ shot deflected wide of the far post off Fernando late on and Moussa Sissoko blazed over the bar before Aguero finally put an end to the Newcastle resurgence.
Aguero, the Premier League’s most lethal marksman in terms of goals per minute, had been given just seven minutes at a tense time in the game as he replaced Dzeko but saw his injury time shot blocked by Krul only to pick himself up and stab the rebound into an empty net.