Ster­ling ef­fort by Sky Blue

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - DAVID DAVUTOVIC

RA­HEEM Ster­ling got a taste of what to ex­pect this sea­son but he also gave a glimpse of what can be ex­pected from him af­ter his $ 102 mil­lion trans­fer from Liver­pool.

Less than a minute into his Manch­ester City de­but last night Ster­ling tripped over the ball, draw­ing a bronx cheer from a sec­tion of the 43,134- strong MCG crowd.

Within three min­utes he slot­ted home Kelechi Iheana­cho’s ball af­ter break­ing AS Roma’s off­side trap.

The 45- minute de­but of Ster­ling, 20, and the per­for­mances of Nige­rian Iheana­cho, 18, and Por­tuguese Mar­cos Lopes, 19, was cause for op­ti­mism for man­ager Manuel Pel­le­grini and a club des­per­ate to yield suc­cess from its academy.

The Sky Blues won 5- 4 on penal­ties af­ter a 2- 2 draw in last night’s In­ter­na­tional Cham­pi­ons Cup en­counter, with both sides ex­per­i­ment­ing although most of their stars fea­tured at some stage.

Roma will de­part Mel­bourne to­day and man­ager Rudi Gar­cia will be con­tent with their two per­for­mances.

Though Satur­day night’s clash against Real Madrid was lack­lus­tre, Gar­cia’s re­ac­tion when Adem Lja­jic equalised with a dip­ping 87th minute free- kick last night in­di­cated that the tour­na­ment was far from a pic­nic.

Mi­ralem Pjanic scored Roma’s first af­ter eight min­utes with a strike from 25m af­ter a Gerv­inho lay­off.

Iheana­cho pounced on a woe­ful back­pass from sub­sti­tute Ash­ley Cole six min­utes af­ter half­time, and a top first touch gave him time to slot it past Mor­gan De Sanc­tis.

Both sides made 11 changes, but the fact that most were made at the break al­lowed the game to flow.

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