EPL

Neville nightmare, silky Scholes and AWOL Balotelli? The best of Vincent Kompany's testimonial

By Sports Desk September 11, 2019

A packed Etihad Stadium paid a warm tribute to Vincent Kompany on Wednesday as his Manchester City Legends played out a 2-2 draw against a Premier League All Stars XI.

The four-time Premier League winner saw the funny side of a hamstring strain keeping him out of his own testimonial, the new day job as player-coach of Anderlecht meaning he could not risk lining up alongside an array of past team-mates.

"For me not to play this game because of an injury… surely the irony has not escaped anyone?" Kompany chuckled before the match – his 11-year stint as an inspirational and decorated captain at City having been frequently peppered with injury lay-offs.

Given a guard of honour onto the field before kick-off, the man of the hour was serenaded by the masses and embraced by fellow club greats Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee and Tony Book.

He then gave way to those fit enough to take part, and there was much to enjoy as plenty of famous faces came together to raise money for Kompany's Tackle4MCR homelessness charity.

Painful night for Neville

Gary Neville's work as a property developer is already well noted in Manchester. The former United and England right-back probably didn't need to labour the point by granting Martin Petrov his own postcode for the opening goal. Jamie Carragher blamed his defensive colleague, Neville disagreed and the debate will probably continue in Sky Sports' Monday Night Football studio.

Neville willingly played the pantomime villain, even taking a corner to soak up boos before pinging a hamstring and departing before half-time.

Dad's Army stands firm

Okay, so it might have only been for 27 minutes in a friendly, but Neville, Carragher, Michael Carrick and Ashley Cole became the first defensive unit to stop Sergio Aguero scoring this season. Somewhere, Sven-Goran Eriksson was beaming with pride.

Where's Mario?

Aguero would have loved the chance to renew his old strike partnership with Mario Balotelli. However, speaking earlier on Wednesday, Kompany foresaw problems. "I think Mario is coming, he should be," he said. "But with Mario everything can go wrong."

Balotelli did indeed turn up, resplendent in a black hoodie, sunglasses and a studded baseball cap. However, he did not warm up and City supporters chanting for his introduction did so in vain – Benjani handily distracting them with a gleefully received equaliser.

Apparently, the Italy striker's new club Brescia had no idea he was in Manchester and he has training at 9am on Thursday. Never change, Mario.

Still got it

Paul Scholes ran through the repertoire. The Manchester United great hacked repeatedly to bring Samir Nasri down during the first-half, while he followed a delightful outside-of-the-foot pass with a deft scoop shortly after the interval. Carpet slippers in possession, hobnail boots out of it.

Nigel de Jong showed the slide tackle remains his preferred method of navigating a football pitch and Stephen Ireland – arguably the great "what if…" of City's Abu Dhabi era produced some silky moments. Robin van Persie put the All Stars ahead with aplomb.

They were all arguably outshone by Petrov, who looks somewhere close to his fighting weight five-and-a-half years since last turning out professionally for CSKA Sofia. There remained too much of a turn of pace for Neville and Carragher, while the left foot that rifled the opener into the roof of the net is still an absolute wand.

Lads, it's for charity!

For a moment, Robbie Keane seemed disgruntled by De Jong giving him a flashback to LA Galaxy's training pitches circa 2016, but the only time the friendly atmosphere truly threatened the fray was when Nicky Butt renewed acquaintances with Craig Bellamy.

Butt clattered through the back of his fellow shrinking violet, who seemed keen to prolong the argument.

End of an era

The biggest roar during the early stages came when Pablo Zabaleta performed an inch-perfect tackle on Cole. The sight of the talismanic Argentinian lining up with De Jong, Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott and the rest once again underlined how much road has been travelled since City's first Premier League title in 2011-12.

Pep Guardiola's slick winning machine is obviously adored in these parts, but it is clear how much that first flush of success – when everything seemed possible, but Carlos Tevez went on strike and Balotelli hosted pre-match fireworks displays in his bathroom – will always mean.

That Kompany, indomitable and in the form of his life, held it all together goes a long way to explaining the enduring affection he enjoys.

Related items

  • Newcomers keep winning, Champions slip up Newcomers keep winning, Champions slip up

    Defending Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division champions Naparima College have slipped while newcomers Malick Secondary have announced themselves as real contenders with their second win from as many games.

    The victory put Malick at the top of the table as the only team to have kept a 100 per cent win record to date in addition to a healthy + seven after their 5-0 thrashing of Speyside Secondary last week.

    This week, things were a little closer as Trinity College Moka returned from their 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Presentation College last week to put in a much improved performance.

    Despite giving nearly as good as they got, Trinity College Moka are now second from bottom, just ahead of Speyside Secondary who also fell to a second defeat.

    Speyside, who were destroyed on opening weekend, found the going no easier against St Anthony’s College who blew them away 7-1.

    St Anthony’s are now in third place on the tables with four points along with Naparima College, who are in fourth after their 2-2 draw on Saturday.

    There are two other teams on four points, with East Mucurapo Secondary in second and Trinity College East in fifth also in the running for a title, at least in the early going.

    Presentation College were pegged back 2-1 by Carapichaima East, who like them, are now on three points in sixth and eighth places respectively.

    St Benedict’s College got off the mark against St Mary’s College (CIC) but had to work hard after the latter joined them at 2-2 before they pulled away.

    Pleasantville Secondary also had a turnaround on Saturday, losing to Queen’s Royal College 4-2. QRC were coming off 6-0 loss and now lie 10th with this victory.

    St Augustine Secondary have had two draws this season, this week, Trinity College East too tough to get by in a 2-2 affair.

    San Juan North Secondary are yet to get off the mark, after their bye this week.

     

     

     

    Pos

    Team

    P

    W

    D

    L

    F

    A

    +-

    Pts

    1

    Malik Secondary

    2

    2

    0

    0

    7

    1

    6

    6

    2

    East Mucurapo Secondary

    2

    1

    1

    0

    8

    2

    6

    4

    3

    St Anthony's College

    2

    1

    1

    0

    8

    2

    6

    4

    4

    Naparima College

    2

    1

    1

    0

    5

    2

    3

    4

    5

    Trinity College East

    2

    1

    1

    0

    4

    3

    1

    4

    6

    Presentation College

    2

    1

    0

    1

    7

    2

    5

    3

    7

    St Benedict's College

    2

    1

    0

    1

    5

    4

    1

    3

    8

    Carapichaima East Secondary

    1

    1

    0

    0

    2

    1

    1

    3

    9

    Pleasantville Secondary

    2

    1

    0

    1

    3

    4

    -1

    3

    10

    Queen's Royal College

    2

    1

    0

    1

    4

    8

    -4

    3

    11

    St Augustine Secondary

    2

    0

    2

    0

    3

    3

    0

    2

    12

    San Juan North Secondary

    1

    0

    0

    1

    0

    1

    -1

    0

    13

    St Mary's College

    2

    0

    0

    2

    2

    7

    -5

    0

    14

    Trinity College Moka

    2

    0

    0

    2

    1

    8

    -7

    0

    15

    Speyside Secondary

    2

    0

    0

    2

    1

    12

    -11

    0

  • Rumour Has It: Inter Miami meet with Messi's dad Rumour Has It: Inter Miami meet with Messi's dad

    Inter Miami are continuing their stunning bid to sign Lionel Messi.

    Messi, 32, can reportedly leave Barcelona at the end of any season for a club outside of Europe despite being contracted at the LaLiga champions until 2021.

    Linked with a shock switch to David Beckham's MLS outfit Inter Miami, the club are continuing to make moves for the Argentina superstar.

     

    TOP STORY – INTER MIAMI REPRESENTATIVE MEETS MESSI'S DAD

    Beckham sent Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough to London for talks with Messi's dad Jorge, according to The Sun.

    Inter Miami are set to enter MLS in 2020 and are looking for a big-name signing, with Messi undoubtedly the biggest of the names linked.

    It comes just days after Messi said in an interview with Sport that he wanted to remain at Camp Nou for "as long as possible".

    ROUND-UP

    - Real Madrid could chase Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba again in January. Sport Bild reports Real Madrid are planning to use Toni Kroos in an exchange deal to land the France international, who was heavily linked with a switch during the close season.

    - Sadio Mane re-signed with Liverpool until 2023 less than 12 months ago, but the European champions are already looking for the attacker to recommit. Liverpool have opened talks with Mane for an extension, according to Soccer Link.

    - Seemingly unwanted at Juventus, Mario Mandzukic's future remains a talking point. Qatari club Al-Gharafa have offered €6million net per year to the striker and can meet Juve's demands, according to CalcioMercato, which reports Los Angeles FC are also interested in the Croatian despite the MLS transfer window not reopening until February.

    - Inter are already looking to lock down a couple of stars. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A giants want to extend the contracts of goalkeeper Samir Handanovic – until 2022 – and forward Lautaro Martinez until 2024. The report says Inter would also double Martinez's salary from €1.5m to €3m per season amid interest from Barcelona.

    - Sam Allardyce is ready for a return to management. The Sun reports the former England boss, who left Everton in May last year, is eyeing a return to Sunderland if the reported takeover by an American consortium is completed.

  • MLS Review: New York City pull clear, Martinez scores again MLS Review: New York City pull clear, Martinez scores again

    New York City pulled clear atop the Eastern Conference in MLS, while Josef Martinez extended his goalscoring streak on Saturday.

    Keaton Parks and Alexandru Mitrita scored as New York City came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.

    Chris Wondolowski poked in a Valeri Qazaishvili cross to give the Earthquakes a surprise 20th-minute lead at Yankee Stadium.

    However, City were ahead prior to the break, Parks equalising before Mitrita finished clinically after an Ismael Tajouri pass in the 43rd minute.

    The result extended City's unbeaten run in MLS to seven games as they moved five points clear at the top of the Eastern Conference.

    Philadelphia Union are in second but lost ground after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Western Conference leaders Los Angeles FC.

    Kacper Przybylko gave Union an early lead before this season's top goalscorer Carlos Vela levelled.

    Atlanta United, third in the east, suffered a 3-1 loss to Columbus Crew despite Martinez continuing his incredible streak.

    Martinez scored for the 14th consecutive MLS game to put Atlanta ahead, but second-half goals from Gyasi Zardes and Luis Diaz Espinoza and a Miles Robinson own goal saw Columbus to a surprise victory.

    Chicago Fire boosted their play-off chances with a 4-0 thrashing of Dallas and Cincinnati stunned Montreal Impact 1-0 despite a late red card to Kendall Waston.

    Nani scored a brace but Orlando City were held to a 3-3 draw by New England Revolution and the Vancouver Whitecaps beat Houston Dynamo 2-1.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.