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Malaysia to host Manchester City in July

Manchester City’s Samir Nasri shoots to score against Wolverhampton Wanderers during their English Premier League soccer match at Molineux in Wolverhampton, central England, April 22, 2012. Malaysia will be hosting Manchester City in July. – Reuters picManchester City’s Samir Nasri shoots to score against Wolverhampton Wanderers during their English Premier League soccer match at Molineux in Wolverhampton, central England, April 22, 2012. Malaysia will be hosting Manchester City in July. – Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, April 25 – English Premier League title contenders Manchester City will play a friendly match against a Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur in July, promoters of the event said today.

It will be City’s first fixture in Malaysia when they play at the 90,000 capacity Bukit Jalil Stadium on July 30.

“We are very honoured to be hosting Manchester City, as we are the only Southeast Asian country given this opportunity,” Football Association of Malaysia deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said in a statement.

The big-spending side are the second English team to commit to a fixture in Malaysia after Arsenal announced plans earlier this month.

A third Premier League team is widely expected to also play in Kuala Lumpur, where Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool drew 80,000 attendances for fixtures against a Malaysia XI last year.

FA Cup holders Manchester City and Arsenal will also play against each other at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium on July 27, the same day as the Olympic Games opening ceremony in London.

The tour is the first in Asia by City, who played pre-season fixtures in the United States last year, since Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan bought the club and ploughed in millions to transform their fortunes.

While this season they have showed they are capable of challenging neighbours Manchester United on the field they will struggle to match the support their rivals command in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, where the Premier League champions and Liverpool dominate. – Reuters

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