Manchester Metropolis’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their second objective throughout the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester Metropolis and West Ham United on the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on February 19, 2020.
Anthony Devlin / AFP
Manchester Metropolis cruised to a 2-Zero win over West Ham on Wednesday as Pep Guardiola’s facet returned to motion for the primary time following the membership’s shock two-year ban from European competitions.
Objectives from Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne lifted Metropolis’s spirits as they cemented their maintain on second place within the Premier League.
The Champions League and Europa League suspension for alleged monetary honest play rules drew a livid response over the weekend from Metropolis supporters who’ve lengthy believed UEFA maintain an agenda towards their Abu Dhabi-owned membership.
But the attendance on the Etihad Stadium for the go to of David Moyes’ struggling facet was disappointing, with roughly 10,000 empty seats greeting the 2 units of gamers earlier than kick-off.
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That will have been due, partly, to the actual fact the fixture was rescheduled from its unique date 10 days earlier as a result of storms.
Reside TV protection and gridlocked early night Manchester visitors additionally didn’t assist supporters arrive in good time for a fixture wherein their crew was in search of to shut the 25-point hole to leaders Liverpool.
It was a curiously subdued ambiance, subsequently, slightly than the anticipated frenzied demonstration of anti-UEFA rhetoric.
There have been a few home-made banners proclaiming “UEFA Cartel” and “UEFA Mafia”, in addition to chants of adulation praising Metropolis proprietor Sheikh Mansour and boss Guardiola.
There have been additionally taunts to UEFA that “we’ll see you in court” and crude songs aimed on the governing physique.
However not till Rodri headed Metropolis right into a 29th-minute lead did Metropolis followers turn out to be actually animated as their crew maintained their full dominance towards the guests.
It’s honest to say, nevertheless, that there will likely be a really totally different ambiance when Metropolis subsequent play on the Etihad within the Champions League, with Actual Madrid the guests on March 10 within the final 16-second leg.
Metropolis’s chief government Ferran Soriano was clearly in a combative temper when discussing the strategy to their newest confrontation with UEFA.
“The fans can be sure of two things. The first one is that the allegations are false,” mentioned Soriano, who confirmed the membership will take the matter to the Court docket of Arbitration for Sport.
“And the second is that we will do everything that can be done to prove so.”
Guardiola was equally defiant when requested to touch upon the suspension earlier than kick-off.
“The first moment was impacted but after a few hours we cannot control, we support the club 100 percent,” he mentioned.
A second-half objective from De Bruyne at the very least ensured that Metropolis returned from the winter break, and 5 days of controversy, with the minimal of fuss.
Nonetheless, it guarantees to be occasions in European legislation courts, slightly than a soccer pitch, that has a better impression on the membership over the approaching months.