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Without a manager and without a win here in South Africa, Manchester City ended the first leg of their pre-season tour on a disappointing note in Durban.

Manuel Pellegrini’s unexpected departure and the imminent arrival of Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic rather overshadowed events at the Moses Mabidha Stadium where City lost their second game to a late penalty.

It was another setback following Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to SuperSport in Pretoria, although Pellegrini has more important things on his mind after flying back to Chile because of a family issue.

‘He had to go back to Chile for personal reasons. We hope he’ll be in Hong Kong on Tuesday morning but we’re not sure,’ said City assistant Brian Kidd.

‘Obviously you want the boss here but he prepared the team right for tonight and his backroom staff have been superb.’

The new manager selected his team before leaving for Santiago, starting new £30m signing Fernandinho alongside Yaya Toure in midfield for the first time.

City have pinned their hopes on that midfield partnership being the bedrock of their challenge at home and abroad this season although it is still too early to judge given the nature of this game.

Pellegrini’s players are still going through the motions after less than two weeks back in training, with David Silva and new signing Jesus Navas – who will soon be joined by Negredo and Jovetic – yet to report for pre-season and Sergio Aguero only involved in light work after flying in to Durban in the last couple of days.

It was a similar scenario to Pretoria on Sunday with City’s players emerging to a stadium that was less than half full, a day of ferocious winds on the west coast of South Africa doing little to encourage local supporters to come out on Mandela Day.

They will not want to be reminded that it was  a rather different story when Manchester United played here to a capacity 50,000 crowd against the same opposition exactly a year ago.

City threatened first after Edin Dzeko was bundled over 25 yards out and Samir Nasri’s freekick, clipped over the wall, had goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini scrambling across his goal to turn the ball around his right-hand post.

But they surprisingly went behind in the 20th-minute, and it was largely down to Aleksandar Kolarov. The Serb played a loose back-pass towards Joe Hart from the right-flank and AmaZulu striker Bongani  Ndulula got there first, touching the ball past the England goalkeeper as he raced out of his box and slotting the ball into an empty net.

Thankfully for City, they were level within six minutes. Scott Sinclair sent over a cross from the left for Yaya Toure who fluffed a free header from eight yards out, but the ball ran loose for James Milner who hammered a shot beyond Kapini from a tight angle.

They nearly added another two in as many minutes, Fernandinho blasting narrowly over from distance and Kapini coming out to block from Nasri who should have done better.

Having put out a whole new team for the second half against SuperSport, City made just three changes on this occasion with Javi Garcia, Pablo Zabaleta and Jack Rodwell all coming on.

Seven more followed as the half progressed, with Rodwell and Dezko both going close, and it was substitute Abdul Razak’s foul that gave Marc Van Heerden the opportunity to beat Costel Pantilimon from the penalty spot.

City, who came out at the start of the night wearing ‘Mandela 95’ shirts in honour of the former South African president which will be donated to a local team, also did a lap of honour at the end with a banner wishing him a happy birthday.

It was a fitting gesture and one that will live longer in the memory than either of their fixtures here.

Source: Daily Mail

Match facts

AmaZulu: Kapini; Macala, Teyise, Msekeli, Hlanti; Madondo, Madubanya, Manqana, Zondi, Dlamini; Ndulula.

Subs: Mathibe, Zikalala, Mwedihanga, Nyadombo, Van Heerden, Cele, Issah, Mthiyane, Nsele, Manoka, Dlamini, Ngcobo.

Goals: Ndulula 20, Van Heerden pen 87

Man City: Hart (Pantilimon 63); Richards (Zabaleta 46), Kompany (Garcia 46), Nastasic (Lescott 69), Kolarov; (Boyata 75) Milner (Razak 75), Toure (Rodwell 46), Fernandinho (Barry 69), Sinclair; Dzeko (Nimely 75), Nasri (Suarez 69).

Subs not used: Huws.

Goal: Milner 26

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