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Man City embarrassed by Hong Kong make-weights (SN)

SoccerNews in English Premier League 22 May 2008

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Manchester City were embarrassed 3-1 by a makeshift South China invitation team on Thursday in what could be Sven Goran-Eriksson's last match in charge.

City, who were missing a host of regulars, took the lead through Dietmar Hamann but paid for a pedestrian performance as the hosts hit back through Giovane Da Silva, Festus Baise and Liang Zicheng.

City's fourth defeat in a row — including a 3-1 loss to Thai league all-stars in Bangkok — will not help the turmoil at the club, where Eriksson is strongly rumoured to be facing the axe.

The Manchester side, whose city rivals United clinched the European title hours earlier, started well with Martin Petrov and Felipe Caicedo both going close before Hamann's volleyed strike on the quarter-hour.

The German defensive midfielder was surprisingly leading the line when he was picked out by a penetrating ball from City's Geovanni and coolly side-footed past home 'keeper Chung Ho Yin.

But South China invitational, made up of players from various Hong Kong sides, were finding cohesion and Goran Stankovski went close with a free-kick before setting up the equaliser on 27 minutes.

The former Macedonia international was picked out on the right of the box by Baise and crossed to Da Silva, who bundled in from close range.

City were offering little in response and Baise put South China invitational 2-1 up just after half-time, pouncing on Stankovski's rebounding shot to score past substitute City goalkeeper Richard Martin.

The goal briefly stung the Premier League aristocrats into action and Petrov and Geovanni both hit the side-netting.

But substitute Liang delivered the fatal blow when he left City's Chinese international Sun Jihai standing and rounded Martin for the hosts' third on 71 minutes.

Eriksson is refusing to talk about his future after City's billionaire Thai owner Thaksin Shinawatra announced an end-of-season review.

Sun, who captained City, may also have been making his last appearance for the club with reports casting doubt on whether he will be offered a new contract.

Italian team Juventus play South China in the second match of Thursday's double-header.

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