Leicester, England (AP) – Darwin Nunez scored Liverpool’s final goal to beat Erling Haaland in their opening matchup as Manchester City beat Manchester City 3-1 in the Community Shield on Saturday.
City, last season’s English Premier League champions, and Liverpool, FA and League Cup winners, held their big summer signing parade at Leicester’s King Power Stadium, but it was the Uruguay international who toppled City’s Haaland.
Nunez came off the bench in the 59th minute with a 1–1 score and his aerial presence won a late penalty as Mohamed Salah put Liverpool in front for the second time.
But the former Benfica striker, who had previously been rejected by City goalkeeper Ederson, did not finish there and stayed in extra time to make his first home run for the Reds in domestic competition.
A new City signing made its mark – former River Plate forward Julian Alvarez was coming off the bench to cancel Trent Alexander-Arnold’s opener – but the focus was really on the big guys.
The traditional season turnaround played out as expected, with England’s top best side running once again, but it was the specifics of what the new signing could bring that attracted intrigue.
Haaland scored 86 goals in 89 appearances for Borussia Dortmund before his summer move and once he and he adjust to each other, he is likely to add many more for City.
The Norway international had the fewest touches of any player in the first half – eight and the serve he got was very few. But he was always a threat, and his last chance in stoppage time was his worst shot when he blasted an open goal six yards away against the crossbar.
“He fought and agitated a lot,” City manager Pep Guardiola said. “It is good for them to see the reality of the new country and the new league. He was there (with chances) but today he didn’t score and another day he will score. He’s going to help us.”
Nez, however, justified manager Jurgen Klopp’s decision to continue his unification from the bench. He scored four goals in the second half in a pre-season friendly against Leipzig, but this was not enough to convince Klopp to start him.
But he was a bundle of energy when he was introduced and, unlike City with Haaland, Liverpool were better equipped to complement his talent.
Virtually with his first touch he was brought down by Ederson, who was spared by an offside flag, and then went out to block Nunez’s shot to his chest after City goalkeeper Jordan Henderson fielded him.
Nez is a traditional number 9 and the lower multifunctional player Klopp usually prefers, but it can work to his advantage and when he tops the head down, the ball hits Ruben Dias.
Referee Craig Pawson dismissed the handball claims, but was advised to consult the pitchside monitor, awarded a penalty and overtook Salah Ederson.
But Nez didn’t end there, and in extra time his hunting instincts saw him head home with Robertson’s knock.
“He won the penalty, scored a goal and looked very lively,” said Alexander-Arnold. “He has been bought to score goals and has proved he can do it today. He is a young player who is willing to learn. He has a good bond with the boys. He has a point to prove. had come. “
It was a pulsating end to a game, with Alexander-Arnold putting Liverpool ahead in the 21st minute from a pass invited by Salah.
City improved in the second half and Alvarez, introduced at the same time as Nez, third-choice goalkeeper Adrian in the 70th, saved Phil Foden’s opening attempt but thwarted the rebound. lvarez followed in the excellent footsteps of Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez as only the third Argentine to score in the Community Shield.
However, he will still play a second role for Haaland, while Nez has begun the process of establishing himself as a long-term substitute for Liverpool and ensuring Sadio Mane’s summer sale to Bayern Munich soon becomes an idea .
“Every sub made a difference,” Klopp said. “The boys are ready and that’s good.”
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