Premier League

City too strong for Chelsea

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Sun, 26 May 2013 10:42:00

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has rejected rumours linking him with a move away from the club this summer.

Barcelona and big-spending Monaco have both been credited with an interest in Kompany as they look to bolster their defensive options.

However, Kompany has moved to play down the rumours and insists he is staying at City as he has 'unfinished business' at the Etihad Stadium.

"Speculations and questions about next season.. I'm not going anywhere," Kompany told Twitter.

"I love playing for City and I've still got some unfinished business."

Di Vaio scored in the second, 28th and 32nd minutes as the Impact established a 3-1 half-time lead, with the Italian's Golden Boot rival Jack McInerney briefly equalising in the fifth minute.

Twice in the second half the Union reduced the deficit to one, through Antoine Hoppenot (69) and Sebastien Le Toux (85), but both times the Impact pulled away again, thanks to Andrew Wenger (74) and Blake Smith (90).

The win put the Impact second in the MLS Eastern Conference, a point off the leading New York Red Bulls with three games in hand.

Fabian Castillo scored the only goal as FC Dallas claimed a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes to stretch their lead at the top of the Western Conference to five points.

The Colombian curled in his second goal of the season after 33 minutes at a drenched FC Dallas Stadium to ensure the Earthquakes remained winless away from home.

And it allowed Dallas to extend their advantage at the top of the West because Real Salt Lake, who began the day in second, were held to a 1-1 draw by the Chicago Fire.

Alvaro Saborio returned from injury to open the scoring for Real in the 78th minute, but the lead lasted just six minutes before substitute Quincy Amarikwa levelled.

The Portland Timbers leapfrogged Real into second with a 2-0 win at DC United.

A goal in each half from Rodney Wallace (21) and Darlington Nagbe (57) sealed the points for the Timbers.

Elsewhehre, goals from Atiba Harris (11) and Nathan Sturgis (76) gave the COlorado Rapids a 2-0 win over Chivas USA, while the New England Revolution beat Toronto FC by the same scoreline thanks to Diego Fagundez (23) and Juan Agudelo (90).

It has been quite a season already for the Crystal Palace winger.

Handed his first full cap by Hodgson during the November friendly in Sweden, Zaha then became what turned out to be Sir Alex Ferguson's last signing for United prior to his retirement.

By loaning Zaha back to Palace immediately, Ferguson ensured his development continued, leading to a place in Stuart Pearce's Under-21 squad for this summer's European Championships in Israel.

And on Monday Zaha will feature in the biggest game of his life as Palace take on Watford in a ?120million scrap for the final place in next season's Barclays Premier League.

So, whilst Hodgson accepts Zaha must take the opportunities ahead of him if he is to fulfil his promise, he feels the signs are encouraging.

"I like Wilfried Zaha," said Hodgson. "I think he is a good player.

"I went to Palace not so long back to have a look at him and of course he has a massive move to Manchester United.

"It seems to me he is on the threshold of something big."

Whilst life at United is not quite the same following Ferguson's departure, and David Moyes will find himself under far more pressure to deliver results in even the lowest priority competitions, Hodgson is confident the Old Trafford philosophy of giving chances to younger players will remain.

"He will be given the opportunity," said Hodgson.

"When a club like Manchester United is prepared to pay a lot of money for a player because they will help them to win things it is a tremendous boost to both confidence and ego.

"As coaches we can't do any more. After you have lit the touchpaper, all we can do is retire and hope they buzz."

Having committed to letting Zaha get some tournament experience with Pearce, Hodgson knows it is how the 20-year-old adapts to life at Old Trafford that will determine his immediate England prospects.

Others have something to prove over the next week as England take on the Republic of Ireland at Wembley on Wednesday before their quick trip to Brazil for Sunday's showpiece friendly in the famous Maracana Stadium.

With Steven Gerrard, Ashley Young, Jack Wilshere and Chris Smalling missing from the squad Hodgson announced last week, Andy Carroll pulling out and doubts remaining over Tom Cleverley due to a calf problem, it is not entirely the squad Hodgson would have wanted for fixtures that might be deemed an unnecessary addition to the season by some.

It is an argument he simply does not agree with.

"I can never stop emphasising how important playing for England should be," he said.

"If we are not careful we will lose sight of the fact that whilst the Premier League is fantastic and the Champions League and Europa League are big competitions too, international football is something apart.

"It only takes the World Cups and European Championships to come around to realise how vitally important people regard their national team.

"It brings people together. You should never debase the chance to play for England.

"Even if you are lucky enough to get one game it should be something that will keep you going in your football life and give you photographs and stories to tell your grandchildren."

With Rio Ferdinand and John Terry now retired, Hodgson will be looking for Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones and Joleon Lescott to provide the central defensive lead next week, which will feature a welcome reunion with old friend Giovanni Trapattoni.

"Giovanni is a good friend and has been for many years," said Hodgson.

"He is one of the world's outstanding coaches.

"The game that stands out in my meetings with him was in the European Cup when my Malmo team knocked Inter Milan out.

"Overall I am in credit in our meetings but that doesn't mean much.

"I am not a great believer that wins in the past can get you wins in the future."

The Europa League winners failed to satisfy their American fans as City, days after launching a Major League Soccer franchise in New York, showed a determination to make their mark in the Big Apple.

A well-taken double by Samir Nasri and further goals from Gareth Barry, James Milner and Edin Dzeko secured victory but Chelsea contributed to an entertaining encounter with a Ramires double and Juan Mata's free-kick.

The final whistle brought to an end Napoli-linked Benitez's tenure as interim boss and, having not spoken to media throughout the week-long post-season tour of the United States, the Spaniard made no public farewell.

The club were unwilling to comment on reports that Jose Mourinho, who is leaving Real Madrid this summer, has already agreed a deal to return to Stamford Bridge for a second spell.

As they had in the meeting between the two clubs in St Louis on Thursday, Chelsea had the majority of the support in the 39,462 crowd at one of baseball's most famous venues.

That was clear evidence of the progress they have made in the US in recent years and what City must hope to emulate.

Chants of "Let's go Chelsea", however, indicated they were playing to a different sort of support than back home.

City began with purpose, as if well aware of the importance of selling themselves to their audience.

They attacked with vigour and their passing was slick, and with the aid of some poor Chelsea defending, they were ahead inside four minutes.

Oscar gave the ball away to Sergio Aguero and although Hilario palmed away his shot, Barry was on hand to tap in.

They could have been 3-0 up inside six minutes as Sergio Aguero narrowly failed to connect with an Aleksandar Kolarov cross and Pablo Zabaleta shot at Hilario.

Chelsea wanted a penalty when Fernando Torres went down under a Dedryck Boyata challenge but the tackle was clean and Demba Ba thought he had scored - as did thousands of fans - when his shot hit the side-netting.

City got their second when Nasri lobbed Hilario from a Milner pass.

Torres had an effort from a corner disallowed because a second ball was on the pitch and Joe Hart palmed the retaken corner onto the bar.

Aguero and David Luiz were involved in a controversial clash in last month's FA Cup semi-final and it seemed needle remained with an argument before the break that continued as the players walked off.

Chelsea pulled a goal back within a minute of the restart as Ramires raced onto a long ball from Luiz to score.

Ramires then had a deflected effort cleared off the line by Milner, who struck at the other end after combining with Dzeko.

Dzeko was again involved as Nasri grabbed the fourth with a neat dink. Mata gave fans hope of a comeback with a superb free-kick eight minutes from time but Dzeko rifled one in from long range and almost beat substitute Petr Cech again moments later.

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