Manchester City 2 Preston North End 0 match report: Pep Guardiola's side get the better of PNE in friendly clash

Preston North End went down to defeat in their pre-season friendly clash with Manchester City.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 9:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 9:46 am

A goal in each half settled the contest at City's Academy Stadium, Riyad Mahrez firing Pep Guardiola's side in front with a superb free-kick.

It was a lead doubled by Sam Edozie in the 64th minute, the youngster finishing well after being played into the box.

North End competed well in the first half when City had a much stronger XI on the pitch but for long spells of the second struggled to get hold of the ball.

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Preston North End left-back Andrew Hughes tracks Manchester City's Joao Cancelo

They didn't particularly work either of the keepers used by the home side - sub keeper Ciaran Slicker was carried off late in the game with a head injury after colliding with Tom Bayliss.

Their chances tended to be shots from outside the box, although Tom Barkhuizen did get behind the City defence a couple of times to cause a threat.

It's sharpening their attacking output which will be Frankie McAvoy's main job before the season starts.

In the five games since the Bamber Bridge friendly, PNE have scored only three times - one of those being a penalty.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola watches his side's friendly against PNE

While perhaps this was a difficult game to judge PNE on, there's plenty of room for improvement before August 7.

North End played their usual 3-5-2 shape, Sepp van den Berg and Josh Earl played as wing-backs after operating in the middle in the previous games.

Barkhuizen partnered Ched Evans up front as PNE sought to utilise his pace on the counter attack.

A bright start from the visitors saw Barkhuizen burst into the box to the left of goal but he lifted his shot over the bar with his weaker foot.

Sam Odozie celebrates scoring Manchester City's second goal against PNE

At the other end, Ben Knight got behind the PNE defence to latch on to a pass on the edge of the box but Connor Ripley was out quickly to block the shot and was first to the rebound too.

Brad Potts drilled a low shot wide before City took a 25th minute lead with a moment of precision.

Ryan Ledson conceded a free-kick three yards outside the box, to the right of centre.

Mahrez swept it left-footed over the wall and into the roof of the net, giving Ripley little chance.

North End didn't let their heads drop, instead they worked hard to keep a solid shape and keep City at arms' length.

A chance fell their way in the 37th minute as they turned defence to attack with one ball.

Potts broke up a City attack and lifted a fine ball from deep inside his own half over the high City line to send Barkhuizen clear.

Home keeper Zack Steffan was alert to it though, racing out of his box to slide tackle Barkhuizen, the loose ball falling to Fernandinho who mopped up the danger.

Four minutes before half-time there was a let off for North End as a cross from the right dropped beyond the far post to find Benjamin Mendy.

The left-back turned the ball back to Cole Palmer who scooped a shot over the bar.

At the interval North End replaced Earl with Greg Cunningham, while City changed all 10 outfield players - keeper Zack Steffan staying on.

They could and maybe should have equalised eight minutes into the second half after working the ball nicely down the right hand side of the pitch.

Ben Whiteman's pass played van den Berg into a few yards of space, the Dutchman lifting a cross into the middle which found Potts.

The midfielder got underneath the ball too much and saw his header clear the bar.

City's response saw Edozie burst into the box, with Ripley getting down to block his shot.

PNE made four subs on the hour mark, Patrick Bauer, Alan Browne, Sean Maguire and Emil Riis joining the fray.

Just after the changes were made there was a chance for North End as City's attempt to play out of their box came undone.

Steffan's pass was intercepted by Ledson who chipped it back over the keeper but saw it sail over.

City stretched their lead in the 64th minute, North End's defence sliced open by a pass which found Edozie down the left hand side of the box, his low finish giving Ripley no chance.

Ledson and Whiteman were subbed with 20 minutes left, Bayliss and Josh Harrop coming on. Ledson had moments earlier dumped one of the City's youngsters on the turf with a foul.

There was a lengthy break in play when Bayliss and City suib keeper Slicker collided in the box after the PNE midfielder had chested the ball into the box to chase.

Bayliss was able to get up quite quickly by Slicker left the field on a stretcher.

City (first half): Steffan, Cancelo, Dias, Ake, Mendy, Fernandinho, Mahrez, Pozo, Rogers, Palmer, Knight.

City (second half): Steffan (Slicker 65, Steffan 81), Sandler, Couto, Moreno, Edozie, Smith, Bolton, Gomes, Roberts, McAtee, Burns,.

PNE: Ripley, Storey, Lindsay (Bauer 61), Hughes, van den Berg (Rafferty 79), Ledson (Harrop 70), Whiteman (Bayliss 70), Potts (Browne 61), Earl (Cunningham 46), Barkhuizen (Riis 61), Evans (Maguire 61). Subs (not used): Leigh, Sinclair, Walker, Thomas, Hudson.

Referee: Peter Wright (Merseyside)

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