Belfast Telegraph

Hart heroics deny Tottenham

Manchester City survived a first-half onslaught as their Barclays Premier League opener at Tottenham ended goalless.

Joe Hart fully justified his new status as City and England number one with a succession of world-class saves before half-time to deny Jermain Defoe, Tom Huddlestone and Benoit Assou-Ekotto, while Gareth Bale also hit the post.

City's multi-million-pound summer signings struggled in the opening 45 minutes but finally turned up after the break, with Shaun Wright-Phillips having the best chance for Roberto Mancini's side.

Peter Crouch was proving a handful early on, setting up the first clear-cut opportunity in the 11th minute with a header back across goal from Aaron Lennon's cross.

Defoe swivelled to fire goalward at point-blank range but Hart somehow kept the ball out and Ledley King was thwarted on the rebound.

Hart sprang sideways to repel Huddlestone's hooked 25-yard volley moments before producing an even better save to keep out Assou-Ekotto's viciously-deflected piledriver.

Hart rescued City again when Vincent Kompany was beaten to the ball by Defoe. The City keeper was finally beaten on the half-hour but the post came to his rescue to keep out Bale's 12-yard drive and Kompany managed to block Lennon's follow-up.

City broke and Yaya Toure drilled wide from 20 yards before a wonderful crossfield ball from Assou-Ekotto sent Defoe clean through. Hart's legs did enough to keep the ball out and Alexsandar Kolarov just beat Defoe to the rebound.

The visitors should have taken the lead inside a minute of the second-half, Yaya Toure brilliantly picking out the diagonal run of Wright-Phillips. But the winger's first touch let him down and Assou-Ekotto recovered to nick the ball to safety.

Bale missed a glorious chance to snatch all three points for Spurs when he sliced horribly wide on his weaker right foot after Roman Pavlyuchenko's cross had broken to him off Nigel de Jong.


From Belfast Telegraph