Hart keeps Spurs at bay
Joe Hart justified his manager's decision to start the season as Man City's No.1 in a 0-0 draw at Spurs.
Last Updated: 14/08/10 4:11pm
Joe Hart justified his manager's decision to start the season as Manchester City's first-choice goalkeeper by producing a stellar performance in the 0-0 draw at Tottenham Hotspur.
Roberto Mancini plumped for England international Hart ahead of Shay Given for City's Premier League opener and he was rewarded with a stand-out display.
Hart's performance is likely to see questions raised over Given's future at City, but few could argue the 23-year-old deserves a run in the team.
The former Shrewsbury youngster was called into action as early as the 11th minute as he produced a superb one-handed reaction save to push away Jermain Defoe's volley on the turn.
And, with Spurs dictating the tempo of the first half, Hart was kept busy as he denied Tom Huddlestone, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Defoe again before the half-hour mark.
City's keeper was finally beaten on 31 minutes, but was rescued by the post as Gareth Bale's drilled shot came back off the upright.
Though City struggled to create anything of note, the visitors should have been in front within a minute of the second half starting, but Shaun Wright-Phillips took too long to bring the ball under control and Assou-Ekotto got back to clear the danger.
Hart made further saves from substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko and Aaron Lennon before Bale wasted the chance to earn Spurs a deserved win by side-footing wide of the target late on.
City handed competitive debuts to Yaya Toure, David Silva and Aleksandar Kolarov, with Carlos Tevez captaining the side and starting up front on his own.
In stark contrast to City's summer spending spree, Spurs' only new recruit - Sandro - had yet to arrive from Internacional as Harry Redknapp went with a familiar line-up
A fast and frenetic opening saw a half-chance on the volley for Wright-Phillips and a Peter Crouch header kept out by Hart.
Crouch was proving a handful, setting up the first clear-cut opportunity in the 11th minute with a header back across goal from Lennon's cross.
Jermain 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.
Vincent Kompany earned the first yellow card for bringing down Defoe 25 yards from goal and a Michael Dawson slip in the box almost let in Tevez but King snuffed out the danger.
Hart rescued City again seconds later when 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 Kolarov just beat Defoe to the rebound.
A peach of a cross from Bale evaded everyone before Yaya Toure's deflected drive forced the first real save from Heurelho Gomes.
Kompany escaped a second yellow card moments before the break despite a cynical foul on Defoe.
Spurs paraded the majority of their 1961 double-winning side at half-time, during which City withdrew the injured Kolarov for Pablo Zabaleta.
The visitors should have taken the lead inside a minute, 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.
Yaya Toure was making inroads and Silva and Tevez both saw shots blocked from another fine ball as light rain began to fall in North London.
City were now more of a threat, Yaya Toure picking out Micah Richards, whose weak header was caught by Gomes.
City almost came unstuck just past the hour mark but an unmarked Crouch horribly mistimed his header from Lennon's cross.
Both sides made 68th minute changes, Adam Johnson coming on for Wright-Phillips for City, while Spurs replaced their strikeforce as Robbie Keane and Pavlyuchenko both entered the fray.
Johnson made an instant impact, feeding Tevez, whose shot was deflected narrowly wide by the charging King.
Spurs broke from the resulting corner and Pavlyuchenko twice sent shots too close to Hart.
Lennon then cut inside and fired straight at Hart moments before being replaced for the final 13 minutes by Giovani Dos Santos.
Tevez saw another shot blocked - this time by the head of King - the striker's last act before being replaced by Emmanuel Adebayor for the final seven minutes.
Bale missed a glorious chance to snatch all three points for Spurs when he sliced horribly wide on his weaker right foot after Pavlyuchenko's cross had broken to him off Nigel de Jong.
The winger made amends with a glorious ball for the Russian, who was thwarted by a brilliant Kompany tackle.Pavlyuchenko was well wide from distance in the closing moments as the game ended goalless.
|Tottenham Hotspur||Team Statistics||Manchester City|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|8||Shots on Target||2|
|5||Shots off Target||4|