Manchester City’s pre-season is off to a flyer. Pep Guardiola’s men got the better of Club America, a top-tier side of Mexican football with a narrow margin of two goals to one courtesy of their talismanic midfielder, Kevin De Bruyne.
The match was the first pre-season encounter for the Cityzens who fielded the new signing Julian Alvarez up front while Erling Haaland looked on from the bench.
Apart from the goal-scoring action that enthralled the audiences in the first half, there was a heated spat, a rather animated confrontation between City’s £100 million star boy, Jack Grealish, and the legendary goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
Grealish, while making his run from the left wing, entered the opposition’s box and felt a slight push on his feet from the defender. He went down quickly, raising his hands in frustration towards the referee for not receiving a penalty. Ochoa came forward to raise the English forward to his feet, but Grealish shoved him away.
The 37-year-old immediately retaliated by pushing Grealish, who shoved the goalkeeper once again with all his might. On witnessing this altercation, the Club America’s players came rushing and threw Grealish off his footing, outnumbering him at the moment.
Teammate Alvarez came forward to steer Grealish away from the jolting defenders who would have ended the Englishman before the rest of the City squad could cool down the hostile opposition.
Ochoa is one of the most reputed goalkeepers of his generation and a national icon. Fussing with him means taking on the entire nation of Mexico, and that is something Grealish can never do.
This minor incident got the entire Club America squad fired up who now targeted Grealish at every turn. In the second half, Bruno Valdez, Paraguay’s and Club America’s centre-back made a nasty tackle on the Englishman from behind that sent him right to the ground.
During City’s title celebrations after winning the Premier League in the previous season, Grealish took a dig at Miguel Almiron, Valdez’s national teammate, by stating that Riyad Mahrez played like him. This was an unfinished business that Valdez wanted to accomplish.
Grealish had made an enemy out of the entire opposition and the entire fan base that was present to support the local team. Even though the Manchester City supporters turned out in huge numbers, the resounding ‘Boo’s’ every time that Grealish had the ball at his feet can never be forgotten.
But at least, Grealish had the last laugh, courtesy of De Bruyne.