A makeshift Milan regained some dignity after going 5-0 down to Manchester City, but still lost the Audi Cup opener 5-3 in Munich.
The Rossoneri were without Mario Balotelli, Riccardo Montolivo, Mattia De Sciglio, Philippe Mexes and Daniele Bonera among others, so the defence was completely revamped and Bakaye Traore in an unusual deeper role. Stevan Jovetic made his Manchester City debut after a transfer from Fiorentina.
This was the opening game in the Audi Cup, a mini-tournament that includes Bayern Munich and Brazilian team Sao Paulo.
It took just three minutes to break the deadlock, as the Milan makeshift defence was caught out. A Jesus Navas cross from the right was knocked back by Jovetic for David Silva’s easy tap-in from close range.
Jovetic almost made it 2-0 soon after, his angled drive skimming the base of the far post, then Jherson Vergara almost scored an own goal with a mis-kick.
Milan were AWOL at the Allianz Arena. Micah Richards strolled into the Milan defence down the right and Marco Amelia got a hand to the shot, but could not keep out the rebound.
Aleksandar Kolarov has been linked with Juventus and Inter this summer, but he got City’s third. Jovetic sent him clear on the left and he found precious little resistance ahead of his precise angled drive.
Milan’s first foray into City’s final third was on 26 minutes, then Kevin-Prince Boateng shinned over the bar.
Jesus Navas was allowed to run down the right unmarked and roll across for Edin Dzeko to tap in at the back post from a couple of yards.
Dzeko added a fifth with a sensational strike, as he chested down, spun round and volleyed a Yaya Toure dinked pass over the top.
El Shaarawy was one of the few to make an effort and he scored a consolation goal when pouncing on a Javi Garcia defensive error to place his angled finish into the far bottom corner. The lifelong Rossoneri supporter hadn’t the heart to celebrate in the circumstances.
The Little Pharaoh was on target again moments later, as everyone stopped expecting the referee to award a free kick for a Kolarov push on Andrea Petagna, but El Shaarawy continued and strolled into an empty net.
Manchester City’s intensity and concentration dropped just as Milan’s awoke and 18-year-old Petagna got a third when springing the offside trap to nutmeg Joe Hart.
Before the break Hart rushed off his line and did just enough to deflect El Shaarawy’s side-foot finish out for a corner.
Gabriel was one of the second half substitutes, but fumbled the ball and was fortunate Samir Nasri couldn’t find the net. Joleon Lescott then prevented El Shaarawy completing his hat-trick when he hesitated to shoot from nine yards. Antonio Nocerino’s first touch also let him down clear on goal and Hart rushed off his line to deflect Boateng’s shot wide with a knee.
Gabriel showed smart reflexes to beat away a Javi Garcia free header from a corner, while Hart again had to be alert when Nocerino’s through ball sent Andrea Poli clear.
Alvaro Negredo’s screamer thumped the crossbar in the final stages. Milan will face the losers of Bayern Munich-Sao Paulo tomorrow in the Third Place match.
Manchester City 5-3 Milan
Scorers: Silva 3 (MC), Richards 19 (MC), Kolarov 22 (MC), Dzeko 32, 36 (MC), El Shaarawy 37, 39 (M), Petagna 43 (M)
Manchester City: Hart; Kolarov, Lescott, Garcia, Richards; David Silva (Milner 63), Yaya Toure, Fernandinho (Rodwell 46), Navas (Negredo 46); Jovetic (Nasri 46), Dzeko (Barry 63)
Milan: Amelia (Gabriel 46); Antonini, Zaccardo, Vergara (Pacifico 72), Constant (Emanuelson 64); Traore (Nocerino 46), de Jong (Cristante 72), Muntari (Poli 64); P Boateng (Pinato 78), Petagna (Niang 46); El Shaarawy (K Boateng 64)