Manchester City overcame a three-goal deficit to beat Premier League rivals Chelsea 4-3 on Thursday in the opener of a two-game US tour.
Edin Dzeko’s second goal of the game tied it in the 85th minute for City and Micah Richards scored the stoppage-time winner by redirecting a header into the net.
“They’ve had a tough couple of weeks, losing the manager, losing the FA Cup final,” Manchester City assistant manager Brian Kidd said. “You can’t say enough about them. They are a very talented squad, no doubt about it.”
Kidd is temporarily in charge after Roberto Mancini was fired one season after winning the Premier League title. Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini is the anticipated replacement.
“That’s in the papers, so everyone’s speaking about it,” Richards said. “You never know, sometimes there’s always late runners coming in.”
Jose Mourinho appears headed back for a stint as manager of Chelsea after failing with Real Madrid.
“Every manager might change slightly during the years,” Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech said. “It’ll be great to see him back and we’ll see if we can reproduce the same magic.”
Whatever happens, Cech said there will be pressure.
“In a big club you always have the same expectations, no matter who’s the manager,” Cech said. “You always want to win every time.”
In a game played before a standing-room only crowd of 48,623 at the St Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium, Juan Mata set up a pair of first-half goals for Chelsea against the run of play.
Mata’s cross set up Demba Ba’s header for the lead in the 15th minute and Cesar Azpilicueta converted a penalty after Mata was dragged down by Karim Rekik.
Manchester City scored through Javi Garcia and Dzeko in a three-minute spell of the second half not long after Chelsea had substituted first-choice goalkeeper Cech and brought on Jamal Blackman.
The two late goals sealed the victory.
There will be a second match between the two at New York’s Yankee Stadium today.
Frank Lampard did not play for Chelsea and the club’s leading career scorer is also skipping the second friendly to join England. Defenders Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole also are heading back home early.