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Mon 20 Aug 2012 10:51 AM

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Abu Dhabi's Man City start season with victory

Premier League champions suffer scare against Southampton before sealing 3-2 win

Abu Dhabi's Man City start season with victory
Manchester Citys French midfielder Samir Nasri scored the winner against Southampton. (AFP/Getty Images)

It was deja vu for Manchester City and their breathless fans on Sunday as they began the defense of their Premier League title the way they finished off last season by battling back to win 3-2 with time ticking down.

Midfielder Samir Nasri struck the 80th-minute winner against Southampton after the City faithful had been dragged through the wringer yet again.

The game started badly for City when their top scorer last season Sergio Aguero, who netted the dramatic late winner as they beat Queens Park Rangers 3-2 to win the title in May, was carried off with a knee injury early on.

A tired-looking David Silva then had a woefully weak penalty saved before a slimline Carlos Tevez, having won the spot kick after a good turn foxed Jos Hooiveld, avoided the offside flag to score at the near post in the 40th minute after Nasri's pass.

Tevez fell out with coach Roberto Mancini last term after refusing to warm up as a substitute in September but was drafted back in towards the end of the campaign and has lost weight during pre-season to look extra sharp.

City's defence was far from it after the break and promoted Southampton, back in the top flight for the first time in seven years, found themselves in front after carbon copy sidefoot finishes from substitutes Ricky Lambert and Steven Davis.

Abu Dhabi-backed City, who spent millions to help secure their first top flight league title since 1968, handed a debut to new signing Jack Rodwell from Everton but his mistake set up a counter-attack for Davis' goal.

Edin Dzeko, just like he had done against QPR three months ago, grabbed City's equalizer following a corner and poor defending from the visitors allowed Nasri to slam in the winner.

"It's like the last game of the season so we started the same and I hope at the end it will be the same result for us," a smiling Nasri told Sky Sports.

"It was a difficult game against a good squad in Southampton who played really good football."

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