EPL: Samir Nasri - Yaya Toure, Manchester City v Southampton
began their Premier League title defence in much the same way as they had claimed the championship months earlier by coming from behind to secure a dramatic 3-2 victory over Southampton
at the Etihad Stadium.
The excellent Carlos Tevez gave City a first half lead, although Roberto Mancini had been dealt an early blow when Sergio Aguero left the game on a stretcher with a knee injury.
Southampton had been largely confined to their own half before they stunned the hosts by racing into a 2-1 lead in the second half courtesy of goals from substitutes Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis.
But Edin Dzeko quickly grabbed an equaliser and Samir Nasri, the architect of much of City's best play, completed the comeback with 10 minutes to play.
Mancini handed new signing Jack Rodwell his City debut in central midfield, where he partnered Yaya Toure in the absence of the injured Gareth Barry, while Joe Hart was passed fit to start in goal.
Seventeen-year-old midfielder James Ward-Prowse made his first ever league appearance in midfield for the Saints, with last season's Championship top scorer Lambert left on the bench as Guly do Prado started in attack.
Having written his name into the history books at the end of last season, Aguero started the new campaign with a moment that he will hope will not last so long in his memory.
The Argentine forward appeared to twist his knee under the sliding challenge of right-back Nathaniel Clyne – who cleanly won the ball – and, after one attempt to get back to his feet, left the Etihad Stadium on a stretcher.
Almost unnoticed amidst the worries of Aguero, Southampton had settled into the game nicely, with Ward-Prowse rushing forward with confidence from central midfield and Joleon Lescott under scrutiny for a tackle on Rodriguez in the City box.
Soon after Dzeko had replaced Aguero, Nasri flicked David Silva's pass into the path of Tevez, who spun past centre-back Jos Hooiveld into the box and was tripped by the Dutch defender's outstretched leg, leaving Howard Webb no choice but to point to the spot.
With Aguero withdrawn and other regular takers Mario Balotelli and James Milner on the bench, Silva had the chance to send City in front but his penalty was poorly struck and Kelvin Davis saved to his left.
Southampton found breaks forward more difficult to come by as the half wore on but defended resolutely, keeping Dzeko away from crosses aimed by full-backs Pablo Zabaleta and Gael Clichy.
Southampton were five minutes away from reaching the break with the deadlock intact when Nasri, allowed too much time and space in the visitors' half, picked out Tevez
with a chipped pass that the Argentine scurried on to – just staying in line with Jose Fonte – and rifled past Kelvin Davis at the near post.