Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Manchester City 3-2 on penalties after a goalless draw to lift the Premier League Asia Trophy in Shanghai.
City dominated the game in the first half and saw a number of glorious chances to take the lead go begging, as Wolves just about kept a foot in the game. In only their second pre-season game, the Premier League champions made plenty of changes in the second half, but their young guns were not able to do the business from 12 yards, as Wolves stunned fans to lift the Asia Trophy.
Sporting their new, luminous third strip, Man City were gifted a golden opportunity to take the lead when Leroy Sane was brought down in the box, but they didn't take advantage as Raheem Sterling's spot kick sailed over the bar.
Wolves, who were also donning their new kit, rarely threatened in the first half, but a trademark volley from Ruben Neves on the hour mark came close to giving them the lead, only for Claudio Bravo to match it with a solid save. 15 minutes from time David Silva nearly grabbed the winner with a beautifully struck free-kick, but his effort was tipped wide by Patricio. Neither side could grab a decisive goal and as a result, the Asia Trophy was to be decided on penalties.
After both teams missed their first spot kicks, it seemed as though nobody was ever going to score, but Wolves eventually found their feet and won the shootout thanks to three magnificent saves from Patricio.
Key Talking Point
Wolves will be delighted with their performance in what was their final pre-season fixture. With their first Europa League qualifier on Thursday, Nuno Espirito Santo will have been impressed by the mentality shown by his side to win the tie despite being under pressure for much of the game.
Despite some sloppy passing, they managed to keep a clean sheet against City over 90 minutes, albeit partly down to the poor finishing from their opponents. Thursday's Europa League tie will of course be considerably easier and the Wolverhampton side will look to build on their triumph this afternoon.
Starting XI: Patricio (9*); Bennett (6), Coady (4), Boly (6); Traore (7), Dendoncker (6), Neves (7), Moutinho (6), Jonny (6); Gibbs-White (6), Jota (6)
Substitutes: Vinagre (7), Ennis (6), Sanderson (5), Perry (6), Cundle (6), Kilman (6)
Despite a few bright performances from their outfield players, the one outstanding man was Rui Patricio in the Wolves goal. After suffering a lengthy injury, he made several outstanding saves in the first half and was the primary reason for his side going into the break at 0-0.
Rui Patricio is so good— Adam (@Adam_Virgo) July 20, 2019
Rui Patricio is going to be insane this year. He was god last season but now he’s been here a year and adapted to the country/league he’s going to be different class— Lee (@LeeB9306) July 20, 2019
The Portuguese stopper made another critical stop near the end when he excellently saved from David Silva's free-kick and went on to make a couple more stops in the penalty shootout. Patricio's form will no doubt be a big boost to Santo who will need his number one to be in top form ahead of a busy season.
Key Talking Point
City will be disappointed with the level of finishing they showed this afternoon, as they failed to capitalise on an all-round dominant performance. Pep Guardiola's midfield looked like they'd never been away, as they played their excellent passing football throughout and caused Wolves no end of problems.
But after spurning several first half chances, including Sterling's skied penalty, they struggled to create many openings after Guardiola started ringing the changes. The Manchester club could have done with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, who are both being afforded extended summer breaks due to their involvement in Copa America.
Starting XI: Bravo (6); Danilo (6), Stones (6), Laporte (7), Zinchenko (6); Bernabe (6), Rodri (7), De Bruyne (8*); Poveda (6), Sterling (5), Sane (6)
Substitutes: Walker (6), Gundogan (5), B. Silva (6), D. Silva (6), Angleino (7), Nmecha (6), Garcia (6), Harwood-Bellis (7), Knight (6)
Kevin de Bruyne showed everybody what City were missing for much of last season, as he controlled his side's attacking play against Wolves. As a result of De Bruyne's countless through balls in behind his opponents' back line, City caused problems throughout the first half and were unlucky not to go into the break a goal or two ahead.
Lmao De Bruyne it's only preseason, these are Champions League passes— I Write CVs|@ConsultsOz (@fabamos_) July 20, 2019
Surely no one in history has ever been able to weight a pass as consistently brilliant as Kevin De Bruyne does?— JS (@vivajoeshearer) July 20, 2019
Despite only playing the first 45 minutes, the Belgian showed today why fans should be excited to see him back to full fitness ahead of the new campaign. When he is finally able to link up with Aguero and Jesus, you can expect City to be scoring goals by the hatful.
City continue their pre-season preparations against Kitchee SC on Wednesday, where Guardiola is expected to play a number of the club's younger players.
Wolves' season officially starts on Thursday, as they take on Crusaders in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier. After the second leg one week later, they take on Leicester in the Premier League opener.