Pellegrini savours City victory over South China

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 July, 2013, 5:46am

Manchester City scored their first victory under new team manager Manuel Pellegrini, scraping through to a 1-0 win over Hong Kong champions South China in the second match last night.

Arriving from their pre-season tour of South Africa without a win after two games, City had Bosnia international Edin Dzeko to thank as he headed home a James Milner cross midway through the first half.

The visitors dominated throughout, but seemed to lack the sharpness needed to finish the job.

The Chilean manager, who only arrived in Hong Kong on Tuesday after returning home to deal with his mother's death, admitted they had a lot of hard work to do before their first Premier League match against Newcastle.

"We can't give advantage in the Premier League and when we start against Newcastle, we must win," said Pellegrini. "We have to work hard, but I am confident.

"We did not play against South China, we played against us," he said. "We have improved from our matches in South Africa and for me whether we drew or we lost, it is not that important. Although we scored just one goal, we had a lot of opportunities."

Looking ahead to Saturday's final against Sunderland, he said: "We always want to win but we will prepare as for a pre-season friendly."

South China goalkeeper Zhang Chunhui, who made a number of good saves agreed their opponents had yet to reach their best. "They are well short of match fitness," he said.

South China will meet Spurs in the third-place play-off on Saturday. The two sides also met in a friendly in 2009 when the Caroliners won 2-0.