Football returns, but no sign of Olympic spirit as City triumph

Aug 13, 2012

Five goals, eight bookings and a sending off as Man City overcome Chelsea in Community Shield

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Chelsea 2 Manchester City 3. As the nation basked in the golden glow of a triumphant Olympics and some dreamed of a new era in British sport, up in Birmingham English football awoke from its summer slumbers as Manchester City took on Chelsea in the Community Shield.

Perhaps aware of the fact that, for once, they were being forced to share the limelight with amateur boxers and modern pentathletes the millionaire stars did conspire to put on a show, as City emerged victorious.

"As the nation raised a pint of London Pride to the Olympics, football returned with a bang, toasting itself with Molotov cocktails in a frenzied Community Shield encounter containing five goals, eight cautions, one red card and an ominous warning from Manchester City to their rivals," said The Daily Telegraph. "As one curtain fell on a sporting spectacle, another curtain was ripped from its hooks."

It was Chelsea who took the lead at Villa Park through Fernando Torres after 40 minutes, but the defining moment of the game came soon afterwards when Blues defender Branislav Ivanovic clattered fellow Serbian Aleksandar Kolarov and was given a straight red card.

City's eleven men then overpowered Chelsea after the break. There were goals from Yaya Toure, Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri in the space of 12 minutes.

"[City] were devastating during a second-half blitz when everything clicked and all the damage was done against a Chelsea side who must have found the experience alarming in the extreme," said The Guardian.

A late consolation from Ryan Bertrand could not alter the result and it was City who picked up the first silverware of the season.

"This was football in the raw, occasionally ugly, but thrilling and everyone present revelled in its return," said the Telegraph. "The tempo was quick. The commitment was endless. Skill was on show as well as the dark arts."

The game was "feisty but wholly compelling" said The Times, which noted that "normal service" had been resumed even before the Olympic flame had been extinguished.

But, the Daily Mail noted that the petulance of the players and the raucous atmosphere in the stands proved provided "proof, if it were needed, that the Olympic spirit has not yet  permeated the thick skin of our national game".

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