Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Balotelli penalty clinches City win

Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli's stoppage time penalty gave Manchester City a priceless 3-2 Barclays Premier League win over Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium.

The visitors had battled back from two goals down, with Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale levelling efforts from Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott.

But, after he got away with catching Scott Parker in the face with his boot, Balotelli kept his cool to find the net after he had been fouled by Ledley King.

City took the lead thanks to David Silva's brilliant through-ball, which coincided perfectly with Nasri's dash from the left touchline and the former Arsenal man's shot which beat Brad Friedel was blistering and gave the American no chance.

On their next attack, City doubled their advantage as Lescott first stood on Nasri's corner, then, from barely a yard, somehow sent the ball trundling over the line as he fell.

It should have been all over.

That it wasn't was due to Stefan Savic's bizarre attempt to reach Joe Hart with a 50-yard back header that succeeded only in letting in Defoe, who rounded Hart, then turned the ball into an empty net.

Bale's blockbuster came five minutes later, the Welshman's brilliant first-time curling effort from Aaron Lennon's square pass finding the roof of Hart's net.

The goal frenzy triggered the arrival of Balotelli, who had already been shown the yellow card when he tangled with Parker, the initial contact accidental, the second far less easy to excuse.

That he should remain on the pitch was a matter for Spurs to reflect on as the Italian coolly converted his penalty.

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