Monday, August 10, 2015

10 August 2003 - City Breaks New Ground

On 10 August 2003, Manchester City played their first match at the new City of Manchester Stadium, beating Barcelona 2-1.

Nicknamed "Eastlands," the stadium was originally built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and cost £110 million to build, plus another £30 million to convert it to a football-specific facility. With a capacity of 47,726, it is substantially larger than City's previous Maine Road ground, which was built in 1923 and seated only 35,150 (though it held a record crowd of 84,569 in 1934 when the terraces were still in use).

To celebrate the move, City brought Barcelona in for a high-profile friendly and took a first-half lead with a 38th-minute goal from striker Nicolas Anelka (pictured), starting his second season with the Blues. A strike from Barça's Javier Saviola leveled the teams in the 58th minute, but City's new signing Trevor Sinclair sent a header in off the post nine minutes later to retake the lead. Andrés Iniesta almost had a late equalizer, but his shot was cleared off the line by defender Richard Dunne.

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