Premier League

Benitez's reign Chelsea at ends

Rafa Benitez (REUTERS/Darren Staples)
Rafa Benitez's reign at Chelsea ended after Saturday's loss to Manchester City.
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Check out some of the best images from Chelsea's youth clinic with FC Harlem.

Far away from the jeering supporters at London's Stamford Bridge, Rafa Benitez completed his brief but productive reign at Chelsea with a 5-3 loss to Manchester City in a season-ending exhibition game Saturday night.

In a wide-open match largely devoid of tough tackles and less physical than many training sessions, Samir Nasri scored twice for City and Ramires had two goals for Chelsea.

City built a 2-0 lead on goals by Gareth Barry in the third minute and Nasri in the 29th. Ramires scored for Chelsea in the 46th and 69th minutes around James Milner's Rodwell's goal for City in the 55th.

Nasri made it 4-2 in the 74th, Juan Mata curled in a free kick for Chelsea 8 minutes later, and Edin Dzeko bounced a 30-yard shot past Petr Cech in the 84th.

Booed by fans mistrusting him following his tenure at Liverpool, Benitez never settled in after he was hired in November to replace Roberto Di Matteo, fired six months after leading Chelsea to its first Champions League title. Still Benitez led Chelsea to the title of the Europa League, the continent's second-tier club competition.

Outgoing Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is expected to return to Chelsea for a second stint as manager, while Napoli


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President Aurelio De Laurentiis was quoted Friday as saying Benitez will take over as coach of his club from Walter Mazzarri, who left to replace Andrea Stramaccioni at Inter Milan.

City also is changing managers. Roberto Mancini was fire May 13, exactly a year after leading City to its first league title since 1968, leaving assistant Brian Kidd was in charge for the U.S. tour, which began when City beat Chelsea 4-3 Thursday in St. Louis. Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini appears likely to take over.

The match was played four days after Manchester City announced it will partner with the Yankees to own New York City FC, which will become Major League Soccer's 20th team in 2015. While planning for a new venue, the expansion team could start play at Yankee Stadium. While built for baseball, the stadium can fit a soccer field that the team says is 110-by-70 yards.

The crowd of 39,462 on a cool evening - the majority Chelsea fans - was more than the 38,202 for Chelsea's exhibition against Paris Saint-Germain last July but below the 49,474 for a Real Madrid-AC Milan match the following month.

Looking ahead to the new team, the kids accompanying City's starters onto the field wore sky blue ''New York City FC'' T-shirts.

City's first goal came after backup Chelsea goalkeeper Henrique Hilario cleared to Oscar, who tapped the ball into the path of Sergio Aguero. Hilario stopped Aguero's shot but Barry tapped in the rebound.


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Dedryck Boyata, a 22-year-old defender who hasn't played for City in two years, made a tackle inside the penalty area to deny a streaking Fernando Torres in the fifth minute.

Nasri doubled the lead in the 29th with a flick over Hilario following a through pass by David Silva.

Playing it 76th and final match of the season, including seven exhibitions, Chelsea got a 46th-minute goal from Ramires. The Brazilian settled a long pass from David Luiz and rounding goalkeeper Richard Wright, who had just replaced Joe Hart.

Milner rebuilt the two-goal lead in the 55th after exchanging passes with Dzeko, and Ramires scored his second from in from following a fine cross by Torres. Nasri chipped Cech for his final goal.

NOTES: City announced a one-year contract extension until 2017 with forward Sergio Aguero, who joined the club three years go. ... There were moments of silence for Lee Rigby, a British soldier killed in London on Wednesday, and victims of Monday's tornado in Moore, Okla. ... Manchester City wore its 2013-14 Nike home jersey on the tour rather than the 2012-13 Umbro model.

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