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Jul, 18, 2010

O'Connor gives Birmingham winning start

Garry O'Connor scored an 88th-minute winner as Birmingham City began their three-match tour of the Far East with a narrow 3-2 victory over a Hong Kong XI at Hong Kong Stadium.

O'Connor sidefooted home from eight yards following Nikola Zigic's lay-off as Blues fought back from 2-1 down in a game played in blistering heat.

Birmingham took the lead in the 20th minute after Stephen Carr won a free-kick on the right and, from Sebastian Larsson's delivery, Scott Dann outjumped his marker to steer a header into the far corner.

Hong Kong equalised four minutes later as a poor clearance fell straight to Leonardo and the striker lashed home from inside the box before Annan made up for his earlier profligacy on the stroke of half-time - curling a shot beyond debutant Ben Foster.

Birmingham made a raft of changes at the break and Cameron Jerome poked over from close range within seconds of the restart. Alex McLeish's side levelled in the 73rd minute when Craig Gardner nodded home Jordan Mutch's floated cross, before O'Connor struck the decisive blow two minutes from the end.

Kevin Davies and Tamir Cohen scored as Bolton beat Charleston Battery 2-0 in the latest match on their summer tour.

Davies converted a cross from new signing Martin Petrov to put Bolton ahead after half an hour, and substitute Cohen doubled the lead after six minutes of the second half.

Bolton welcomed back two players after long injury lay-offs, with Sean Davis playing for the first time in 11 months and Joey O'Brien returning after being sidelined since late 2008.

They had been out of action with serious knee problems but managed to last for a half each.

Manchester City made a winning start to their tour of the United States with a 3-0 victory over the Portland Timbers.

Two goals in nine minutes from Stephen Ireland and Emmanuel Adebayor put City in cotrol before half-time, with Brazilian Jo completing the scoring after the break to seal a comfotable win.

"The main thing is that we came through without any serious injuries and that is important," City boss Roberto Mancini said.

"I am sure the players were glad to get into action after two weeks of hard work and I thought we did well against a side that is progressing in the United States and which was well prepared and fought hard all night.

"This was only a first step but a big one on the way to the start of the Premier League season."

Aston Villa lost their first pre-season friendly 2-1 to Blue Square South side Basingstoke. A Chris Herd own goal and a David Pratt header put the home side ahead before academy player Graham Burke pulled one back for the Premier League side.

Celtic bounced back from their friendly defeat against Manchester United with a 2-1 win over MLS franchise Seattle Sounders.

Seattle lost the initiative after 29 minutes when goalkeeper Terry Boss was dismissed for a foul on Georgios Samaras, who converted the penalty.

The 45,631 strong crowd then saw second-half goals from Patrick McCourt and David Estrada as Celtic held on.

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