Real rip City apart, clinch trophy
Melbourne, July 24
Cristiano Ronaldo was at his dazzling best as Real Madrid proved a different class to Manchester City winning 4-1 before a record crowd to win the International Champions Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
World footballer of the year Ronaldo showed his sublime skills and was among the goalscorers as Real demolished the 2014 English Premier League champions in a blistering first half performance before more than 99,000 fans at the MCG. It was the MCG’s biggest ever crowd for a football-only event.
The 10-time European champions revelled in the atmosphere, opening up Man City with dazzling touches, flicks and clinical finishing for three goals in the first half. French striker Karim Benzema put the Spaniards ahead with a spectacular finish in the 21st minute. Benzema hooked in Gareth Bale’s cross over his left shoulder in a brilliant piece of finishing after a fine run down the right wing by Daniel Carvajal.
Ronaldo pounced four minutes later, getting a sublime first touch to bring down German Toni Kroos’s long pass before poking home. England goalkeeper Joe Hart was unable to keep the ball from crossing the line for a double Real sucker punch after piecemeal Man City defending as Ronaldo thrilled the crowd his trademark goal celebration.
It got worse for City when central defender Pepe scored Real’s third with an unmarked thumping header off Isco’s corner just minutes before half-time. Deep in first-half stoppage time, City got a penalty for a Sergio Ramos hand-ball as he jostled with Sterling. Manchester United target Ramos remonstrated with Japanese referee Hiroyuki Kimura that Sterling had handled the ball first. Yaya Toure slotted home the spot kick for Man City to trail 3-1 at the break.
Russian Denis Cherychev made in four when he stabbed home an Isco cross with 17 minutes left. City’s night was further soured when new signing Fabian Delph injured his left hamstring and was carried off after just 18 minutes and was replaced by Jesus Navas. Manager Rafael Benitez made four changes at half-time bringing off Benzema, Luka Modric, Carvajal and Pepe, while Manuel Pellegrini left his Man City team unchanged.
Ronaldo, the world football’s highest paid player, turned on his party tricks for the appreciative MCG crowd, with his cheeky stepovers and flicks and was narrowly wide when he was released by Gareth Bale only to put an audacious attempt just wide. Edin Dzeko, the subject of transfer speculation, got his first run of the tournament for Man City, coming on in the 64th minute as Toure, Ronaldo and Ramos came off at the same time.
City’s record signing Raheem Sterling had a quiet night and was well contained by Ramos before he was substituted midway through the second half.