City tide over big opening scare

Chelsea off the blocks in promising fashion

City tide over big opening scare

Samir Nasri struck an 80th-minute winner as Manchester City came from behind to begin the defence of their Premier League title with a patchy 3-2 win over promoted Southampton on Sunday.

In similar scenes to May when they came back to beat Queens Park Rangers 3-2 to seal the title, City went ahead through Carlos Tevez in the first half only for Southampton substitutes Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis to stun the home crowd.

Edin Dzeko then equalised following a corner and France midfielder Nasri took advantage of some lax defending to ram the ball home for Roberto Mancini's men, who lost Sergio Aguero to an early knee injury and missed a penalty through David Silva.

New Chelsea winger Eden Hazard earlier lived up to all the hype inside the first seven minutes of his league debut by setting up both goals in a 2-0 win at Wigan Athletic.

First he expertly turned marker Ivan Ramis to release right back Branislav Ivanovic, who ran in and coolly slotted home in the second minute having been allowed to play despite a red card in the 2-3 Community Shield loss to City last Sunday.

Hazard then danced his way into the box and was carelessly upended by error-prone Wigan debutant Ramis, leaving Frank Lampard to slam in the seventh-minute penalty.

The Belgian, who joined the European Cup winners from Lille in the close season having turned down champions Manchester City and Manchester United, quickly silenced doubters who suspected England would be far tougher than the modest French league.

The change in emphasis could help pacey Hazard given this showing, although he was quieter after the break and failed to produce a shot from the right forward position.

Pardew apologises

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew swiftly apologised for pushing a linesman in the back after contesting a decision in their opening 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Pardew was sent to the St James’ Park stands shortly after striker Demba Ba gave the hosts a 54th minute lead and then he frantically tried to get a faulty walkie-talkie working so he could send messages back to the bench.

In the end, club officials had to do relay runs down the steps of the stand to pass on instructions to his assistants.

A fine or touchline ban could now follow from the Football Association but Pardew was full of regret.

“It was ridiculous really, I have to apologise publicly, I’ve been to see (the officials) already,” he told ESPN television.

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