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Picking up where they left off

sports Updated: Aug 20, 2012 00:51 IST

AFP
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Manchester City picked up where they left off last season as the champions started their title defence by coming from behind to beat Southampton 3-2 on Sunday, while Eden Hazard stole the show on his debut in Chelsea's 2-0 win at Wigan.

City were back in action at Eastlands for the first time since they clinched the club’s first English title for 44 years with a sensational 3-2 victory over QPR on the final day of last season.

Sergio Aguero had scored the winner then, but memories of that glorious moment quickly faded when the Argentine striker was stretchered off within the first 15 minutes http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/8/20_08_12-metro19b.jpgfollowing a challenge from Southampton’s debutant defender Nathaniel Clyne. To make matters worse, David Silva's tame penalty in the 19th minute was easily saved by Kelvin Davis after Carlos Tevez was tripped by Jos Hooiveld.

Argentina striker Tevez opened the scoring in the 40th minute, firing past Davis at his near-post despite Southampt-on's appeals for offside. However, Saints striker Rickie Lambert came on to equalise in the 59th minute. Southampton were on course for a stunning win when former Rangers midfielder Steven Davis marked his debut by slotting home in the 68th minute after Jack Rodwell's misplaced pass put City in trouble.

But Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko equalised four minutes later and French midfielder Samir Nasri completed City's latest escape act after a poor header from Saints defender Danny Fox in the 80th minute.

Earlier, Hazard enjoyed a dream debut for Chelsea as the Belgium forward set up both his side's goals for Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard within the opening seven minutes.

Hazard, who arrived from Lille in June with a hefty £32 million price tag, laid on Chelsea's opening goal with a clever turn and defence-splitting pass to Ivanovic, then tricked his way into space in the penalty area and provoked a despairing challenge from Wigan debutant Ivan Ramis, who conceded a penalty which Lampard drilled under Al Habsi to seal Chelsea’s win.