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Manchester City trounces AC Milan at Heinz Field

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Before a lively crowd at Heinz Field, Manchester City trounced AC Milan, 5-1 in a group stage match of the Guinness International Champions Cup on a Sunday.

Manchester City showed why they are the reigning Barclays Premier League Champions. 

And AC Milan, a traditional European soccer power, displayed why they finished in eighth place in Italy's Serie A last season. 

Stevan Jovetic scored a pair of goals, including the game's opening tally in the 12th minute on a perfectly placed cross from Jesus Naves, that started an onslaught of four goals in 13 minutes for the Sky Blues. 

"Very good game for us today.  It's important at this stage for us to have good performances. Winning the way we did today was great," said Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City's manager.  

Two minutes after Jovetic's tally, Scott Sinclair received a nice pass from Gael Clichy, and drove a shot to the right of the goal to stun AC Milan for the quick 2-0 lead.

The Rossoneri's best efforts going forward in the early stages of the first half would only amount to crosses that were not connecting. 

Man City on the other hand, seemed to score on every touch in or near the box. 

In the 24th minute, Naves, on a long crossing pass across the pitch in the attacking third, went up sideways in the air, volleying a one-time shot toward the goal. Milan goal keeper Michael Agazzi mistakenly took one step to his left, and then fell, and the ball trickled past his right side.

City's next possession, Kelechi Ihenacho scored on with what can only be described as as a toe poke from the edge of the box, that Agazzi had a hand on, but could not make the save.  

"We cannot allow that.  Every time they touched the ball near the goal, they scored," said AC Milan's manager Filippo Inzaghi, through an interpreter in his post game press conference. 

Before the end of the half, in the 42nd minute, the contingent of Milan supporters at Heinz Field would finally have something to cheer about.  Sulley Muntari tapped home a loose ball that deflected toward the left post after a corner kick.  

While it rained for much of the first half, play continued. But as the second half was set to begin, a severe weather delay was announced, as participants and spectators were asked to leave the field and open seating areas. The delay lasted about 25 minutes.  

As the second half began, trailing by three goals, Inzaghi brought in some of his big name players including the charismatic Mario Balotelli, along with Daniele Bonera, Michael Essien and Ignazio Abate. 

The announcement of Balotelli into the match seemed to excite the crowd coming back to their seats after the delay.   

AC Milan, playing in their alternate canary jerseys, had a few chances to cut the lead at the outset of the second half.  

Essien missed a header in the 51st minute. A few minutes later, Balotelli finished what appeared to be a nice counter deep into the box, but it was nullified by an offside call. 

Jovetic, who received the nod for the post game "Man of the Match" honors, capped the scoring, with his second goal on a great pass to the near side by Aleksandar Kolarov in the 58th minute. 

Jovetic took one touch and fired it home to seal the four-goal differental for the English champs as they earned three points in the International Champions Cup group stage.  

Pellegrini was pleased with his team's appearance in the Steel City. 

"It's important for a lot of things.  Play against teams like (AC Milan). Useful to come here for us to prepare for our season," said Pellegrini.  

Ironically, despite the final score, Milan had an astounding 6-5 edge in shots on goal.

Inzaghi felt that his team is pretty far behind their English counterparts.

"The English teams, the Spanish teams, German, they seem to be ahead of Italian teams at this point," said Inzaghi, who's in his first year at the helm of the Rossoneri. Who also pointed out that AS Roma lost their first match of the ICC.  

"We didn't have a very good team last year, and we have a lot of work to do now to get better." 

Manchester City's goalkeeper Willy Caballero was impressed with the turnout and atmosphere in Pittsburgh, which was announced at 34,347 that came through the turnstiles on a Sunday with mixed weather results. 

"The people, the fans were great, especially before the bad weather came through. We came to compete, wanted give a good performance," said Caballero, who finished with five saves.  

As the match came to a close, two fans, dressed in AC Milan traditional red and black striped home jerseys with what appeared to be wigs, broke onto the field and ran right to Balotelli. 

They posed for a selfie with Balotelli, who, along with the crowd, seemed to enjoy the moment. Then Pittsburgh's finest escorted the pair away. 

And that put the wrap on an eventful day of soccer at Heinz Field.

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