Dundee's pre-season campaign got off to an enjoyable start at a sunny Dens Park as the Dark Blues earned an eye-catching 2-0 win over English Premier League champions Manchester City. First half goals from Gary Harkins and trialist Luka Tankulic won Dundee the Angus Trophy Centre Cup. City made nine changes at half time, but their second half team couldn't pull the Dee back.
The visitors were a long way short of full strength, but there were still plenty of top class players on display, and the Dundee defenders will take pride from keeping a clean sheet against big names like Negredo, Navas, Nasri and Sinclair.
Dundee fielded three trialists from the start, playing at centre back, a lone striker and right midfield. New signings James McPake, Kevin Thomson and Gary Harkins also started.
The match took a while to get going and for the opening 20 minutes it looked very much like a leisurely pre-season exercise for the visitors. City were moving the ball around smoothly and the Dark Blues had to work hard to keep them at bay.
Dundee's defence impressed throughout the first half, with both James McPake and the trialist, Thomas Konrad, looking composed and determined at centre back. The full backs, Irvine and Dyer, had to keep their wits about them dealing with Navas and Kolarov, but both acquited themselves very well.
City showed some early signs of slackness in midfield, which twice allowed the Dee to work the ball out to trialist Kieron Cadogan in space on the right. On neither occasion could the winger find a team mate with his cross, but the attacks lifted the spirits of the home fans.
Old favourite Gary Harkins was showing some neat touches playing in behind the lone striker, Luka Tankulic, the third trialist.
Dundee made the breakthrough after 26 minutes. Gary Irvine floated a teasing ball towards the near post, where Harkins ghosted in to take the ball. Boyata bundled him over from behind to give the Dee a penalty.
Harkins took the spot kick himself, but City's new keeper Willy Caballero saved well. The ball broke kindly for HARKINS who had no trouble slotting it home.
City stepped up the pace in response putting McPake and Konrad under serious pressure, but both players dealt competently with everything thrown at them.
When Dundee won possession they were coming forward with increased confidence as the fans settled down to enjoy an entertaining and competitive match.
The home fans were delighted when their favourites added a second goal after 37 minutes. Harkins corner from the left was allowed to travel all the way to trialist TANKULIC at the far post, and his volley from 10 yards flicked off a defender on its way into the net.
City's defence was rattled at this stage and got into a horrible mess shortly afterwards under pressure from Cadogan and Tankulic. They managed to scramble the ball clear, and that was the end of the first half entertainment.
Manuel Pellegrini made nine changes at half time, keeping only Caballero in goal and young Welsh midfielder Emyr Huws. The newcomers included Alvaro Negrdedo, Samir Nasri, Scott Sinclair and Micah Richards.
Dundee sent on Phil Roberts, Paul McGinn and Iain Davidson at half time, replacing Irvine, Thomson and Harkins.
The visitors started the half with a fast and incisive raid down the right by Richards and Sinclair. The Dee were rocked back and were fortunate to escape a goalmouth scramble.
City continued to attack with menace, but the Dark Blues stood up impressively to the challenge. Zuculini came closest to pulling a goal back when he volleyed wide from a good chance set up by Sinclair.
Just before the hour Paul Hartley made five further changes to the Dundee line up, and this injected more menace into the Dee's attacks. Dundee now started to put their illustrious visitors under some uncomfortable pressure. Dyer made a great tackle on Sinclair and sent Roberts away down the left. The youngster raced around Garcia, who scythed him down just outside the area.
Next Roberts floated a fine pass over the top of the City defence. MacDonald ran onto the ball and lobbed Caballero but the ball sailed just past the post.
Riley and Roberts close control around the penalty area gave City an uncomfortable spell as a third Dark Blue goal looked a real possibility.
City were still dangerous, however, and Adam had to save well from a Nasri curler, and then push a Negredo shot round the post.
Craig Wighton and Cammy Kerr came on for the last 10 minutes, and both made effective contributions as played raged from end to end.
It was the Dee who came closest to another goal when Wighton sent Riley to the byline. MacDonald tried to flick his cutback home, but the ball drifted wide. Roberts' speed allowed him to reach the ball and he hammered it back into the goalmouth, but City hacked it clear.
The match wound down with the Dark Blue fans cheering their heroes and singing "Championees" lustily. This was only a pre-season friendly, but beating a top side from England is always a fine way to spend a Sunday afternoon in July. There was plenty to encourage the supporters today. The new signings all did well, the trialists had decent games, and the old guard all put in good performances. Keeper Grant Adam did what was required, and as a Dundee fan he must have enjoyed today. He wasn't the only Dee who can say that!
Dundee FC (1st half) 4-4-1-1
Irvine (McGinn HT), McPake (Bendictus 59), Konrad (trialist, Wighton 80), Dyer (Kerr 80)
Cadogan (trialist, Boyle 59), McBride (Riley 59), Thomson (Davidson HT), McAlister (Roberts HT)
Harkins (Stewart 59)
Tankulic (trialist, MacDonald 59)
Goals: Harkins (26), Tankulic (37)
Manchester City (1st half 4-4-2)
Bossaerts, Boyata, Denayer, Kolarov
Navas, Fernando, Rodwell, Huws
Manchester City (2nd half 4-3-3)
Richards, Mastasic, Rekik, Leigh
Nasri, Garcia, Zuculini
Sinclair, Negredo, Huws
Referee: Bobby Madden
Report: James Christie