Tag Archives: rodwell

Jack Rodwell ruled out for up to four weeks

Mancini set to be without Rodwell for up to FOUR weeks after hamstring injury recurs to haunt City midfielder yet again

By
John Curtis, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:37 GMT, 4 March 2013

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UPDATED:

01:28 GMT, 5 March 2013

Roberto Mancini's relief at Manchester City keeping their slim hopes alive of retaining their Barclays Premier League title was tempered by another injury setback to Jack Rodwell.

A first half goal from Carlos Tevez was sufficient to earn City a 1-0 win at Aston Villa and cut the gap on leaders Manchester United to 12 points.

But midfielder Rodwell suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury midway through the opening period and will be sidelined for 'three to four weeks'.

Injury curse: Jack Rodwell was marking his 11th appearance for Manchester City since his summer arrival from Everton

Injury curse: Jack Rodwell was marking his 11th appearance for Manchester City since his summer arrival from Everton

Mancini said: 'We are very sorry for Jack, because he is a good guy, a good player, but he is unlucky. It is his hamstring.

'I think it is impossible to resolve
his problem after six or seven months because he's had this problem for
five or six years and we need maybe more time.

'How long will he be out Maybe he will be back after the international break, three or four weeks. It is the same injury.

'I am very sorry because he is a
young player. He needs to improve but he has played very well against
Chelsea and was playing very well tonight.'

Mancini repeated his determination
that City will not give up on the title without a fight but admits they
probably have to win their 10 remaining games.

Blow: Rodwell was replaced by Edin Dzeko after suffering an apparent hamstring injury

Blow: Rodwell was replaced by Edin Dzeko after suffering an apparent hamstring injury

He said: 'It is difficult because we have 30 points to play for and we need to try to win.

'At the end, we will see what happens. In football everything can happen right up to the last second.

'We probably need to win all 10 matches that are left. We need to win all the matches.

'If they (United) lose three or four or five games…..it is difficult because they are too strong for this.

'When you have to win always, it is difficult to win every game. But last year we did this. Why can't we do it this year'

Sergio Aguero was also ruled out with
a knee injury and will also miss the weekend FA Cup tie with Barnsley
but Mancini is hopeful he will be available for the next league clash
with Everton.

Villa remain in the bottom three and
manager Paul Lambert admitted a mistake by defender Ciaran Clark proved
crucial in the build-up to Tevez's decider.

Not again: Rodwell looked disappointed after the recurrence of his hamstring complaint

Not again: Rodwell looked disappointed after the recurrence of his hamstring complaint

Lambert said: 'I thought we were well
in the game. The goal is a mistake. I wouldn't have minded if someone
had put one in the top corner with a bit of skill.

'But it's a mistake by us. It is easy
to be critical of Ciaran. The lad has been excellent all season. He
will learn from it, he won't make the same mistake again.'

Midfielder Fabian Delph will be
suspended for the next two games against Reading and QPR after
collecting his 10th booking of the season for handball.

Lambert said: 'He's playing extremely
well, really well. You are pressing forward, to try and get a goal back
and things like that happen.'

The Villa boss knows the significance of the next two matches.

He said: 'The next two games are massive for us. If we play like that, we will give teams a fright, that's for sure.'

Roberto Mancini admits loss of Kolo and Yaya Toure to African Cup of Nations will affect title challenge

Out in Africa! Mancini admits loss of Toure brothers to Cup of Nations will affect trophy hunt

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UPDATED:

12:03 GMT, 31 December 2012

Roberto Mancini has warned that his team may have a difficult January after losing Toure brothers Kolo and Yaya to the African Nations Cup.

The two City players will be missing for a month as City face an important run of games in the Barclays Premier League and FA Cup.

This morning Mancini said: 'Yes, we could have a problem.

Problem: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini admits the loss of Yaya and Kolo Toure to the Africa Cup of Nations could affect their title challenge in January

Problem: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini admits the loss of Yaya and Kolo Toure to the Africa Cup of Nations could affect their title challenge in January

'Micah Richards wont be ready to play until February while Jack Rodwell is out indefinitely and Kolarov is out for two weeks.

'Certainly we cant sell any players as we don't have any players to fill in.'

City face Stoke at home tomorrow after bringing the curtain down on a year that saw them win the Premier League.

Mancini added: 'This was a fantastic year for us, a fantastic season.

'I hope next year will be the same. I always hope the next year will be better but to be the same would be great.

Missing: Yaya Toure will be playing for the Ivory Coast in the tournament, which kicks off in South Africa on January 19

Missing: Yaya Toure will be playing for the Ivory Coast in the tournament, which kicks off in South Africa on January 19

Africa bound: Yaya's brother, Kolo, will also be playing in the three-week tournament

Africa bound: Yaya's brother, Kolo, will also be playing in the three-week tournament

'We have a chance to have a fantastic 2013.'

Mancini has a selection dilemma tomorrow after striker Edin Dzeko scored a hat-trick in the 4-3 win at Norwich on Saturday.

Asked if the Bosnian will definitely play tomorrow, he said: 'if he scored three goals every time he will stay in every week.

'he played very well at Norwich but there are 23 players who want to play every week and that's impossible.'

CITY MATCHES THE TOURE BROTHERS COULD MISS

January 13 – Arsenal (A)
January 19 – Fulham (H)
January 26 – Possible FA Cup fourth round
January 29 – Queens Park Rangers (A)
February 3 – Liverpool (H)
February 9 – Southampton (A)

Roberto Mancini tension with new executives from Barcelona

Mancini and the boys from Barcelona at loggerheads over the way forward

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UPDATED:

22:19 GMT, 15 December 2012

Tension is already growing between Roberto Mancini and Manchester City's new executives from Barcelona over their vision for the club.

Chief executive Ferran Soriano and sporting director Txiki Begiristain, who held similar posts at the Nou Camp before moving to England this season, have prioritised building up City's academy to try to emulate Barcelona's famous La Masia.

Tension: Roberto Mancini on collision course

Tension: Roberto Mancini on collision course

It was there that Lionel Messi was recruited as a 13-year-old and developed into the best player in the world.

But Mancini is fuming because he
feels the benefits will not be seen during his five-year contract. He
believes signing players in their early teens is a wasted investment
because the quality of City's junior coaching is inferior to that of
Barcelona.

He fears the financial outlay on the
academy will stop him signing up Europe's best teenagers who he can push
into the first team within two seasons.

Building a foundation: Ferran Soriano

Building a foundation: Ferran Soriano

The difference in strategy is causing
friction, with Mancini aware Begiristain wants all City teams
eventually to play the tiki-taka style favoured by Barcelona. Mancini
prefers to play a 4-2-3-1 and is sticking to his guns.

City's financial results last week
showed a annual loss of 97million and, while that is a big improvement
on the previous year, the club know they have to fit in with UEFA
financial fairplay regulations.

The stand-off is unlikely to lead to a
major bust-up in January and Mancini respects Begiristain's ability to
recruit firstteam players more highly than his predecessor, Brian
Marwood, who oversaw the signings of Javi Garcia, Scott Sinclair and
Jack Rodwell in the last window.

But their relationship is a ticking
timebomb, with Mancini believing the 37m contract he signed in the
summer would lead to greater control.

However, the Abu Dhabi owners have not brought in Soriano and Begiristain to be dictated to by the manager.

As a sop to Mancini, he is likely to get the topclass midfielder he has asked for in the new year.

Italy's Daniele de Rossi and
Corinthians' Paulinho, in action today against Chelsea in the Club World
Cup final, are under consideration, with Yaya Toure missing much of
January playing for Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Other buys will have to be
self-financed by sales of squad players such as Joleon Lescott, Sinclair
or Edin Dzeko.

Mancini has made it clear he is unhappy with some of
Begiristain's plans and has shown less interest in City's elite
development squad, who are bottom of their Barclays Under-21 Premier
League group.

Roberto Mancini praises "tired" Manchester City after scrappy win over Swansea

Mancini praises 'tired' Blues after scrappy win over Swansea

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UPDATED:

21:15 GMT, 27 October 2012

Manchester City manager Roberto
Mancini was pleased his players overcame tiredness to edge out Swansea
1-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

The Barclays Premier League champions
were again far from their best but moved within a point of the top
after Carlos Tevez settled an otherwise poor game with a fine strike on
the hour.

City and Mancini received
considerable criticism after suffering defeat to Ajax in the Champions
League in midweek and the manager felt that game had taken much out of
his players.

Key decisions: Roberto Mancini's introduction of Mario Balotelli changed the game

Key decisions: Roberto Mancini's introduction of Mario Balotelli changed the game

The Italian said: 'Our performance in the first half was so-so because I think we were so tired but in the second half we played better, we had a lot of chances to score.

'In this moment, when you are in a difficult moment, after a defeat in the Champions League, it is important we start to win quickly.

'We played three days ago and Swansea played very well. They were fresh, so it was important to take these three points.

'We now have one week when we can recover and I hope we can recover a couple of (injured) players for the next game and we can work.'

Injury worries: Micah Richards is carried off against Swansea

Injury worries: Micah Richards is carried off against Swansea

City's injuries are now mounting. Already without Maicon, Pablo Zabaleta, Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell, City lost Aleksandar Kolarov and Micah Richards during the game.

Kolarov was removed at half-time with a foot problem but of more concern was the injury to Richards, who left the field in agony wearing an oxygen mask after appearing to twist his knee.

The England defender missed the first two months of the season with an ankle injury and was only in his fourth game back.

He will now be assessed in the coming days. When asked if it was a bad injury, Mancini said: 'Probably, but I hope not. I don't know. He was tired, it was the third game in 10 days for him.'

To the rescue: Carlos Tevez scored the winner against Swansea

To the rescue: Carlos Tevez scored the winner against Swansea

City struggled in the first half but upped the tempo after the introduction of Mario Balotelli at half-time.

When asked what he had said to his players at the break, Mancini mumbled a possible joke about shooting 'against three or four players'.

Mancini was however clear when asked about the performance of Tevez, who scored his first goal since September 1.

Mancini said: 'He played well but Carlos also played well against West Bromwich.

'He worked hard for the team. It is an important goal and I am happy for him.'

The Swans frustrated the champions throughout a game that had 12 minutes of injury time in the second half after stoppages for treatment to Richards and Michel Vorm.

Baffled: Michael Laudrup couldn't understand why Angel Rangel got booked

Baffled: Michael Laudrup couldn't understand why Angel Rangel got booked

The visitors also had two good chances to score while the game was still locked at 0-0 but Joe Hart saved from Michu on both occasions.

Manager Michael Laudrup said: 'We have to say, both times, Joe Hart made some great saves.

'I really think, coming here, playing against the champions away, when they only create one clear chance in 90 minutes and you create two or three, you can think you deserved a little more.

'The great teams just take those few chances and convert them into goals.

'I want to only see the positive things today because there are so many.'

Aside from the result, the only other negative was a booking for Angel Rangel for diving in the first half.

Laudrup said: 'Angel got a fifth yellow card – that was really something, that was something special. I have to admit that.

'A free-kick against and it was strange. If that is diving, then we have invented a new form of diving.

'I have to ask Angel how he learned that.'

Manchester City close to signing former Barcelona director of football Txiki Begiristain

City closing in on deal with former Barcelona director Begiristain as Chelsea and Spurs lurk

PUBLISHED:

17:18 GMT, 25 October 2012

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UPDATED:

17:20 GMT, 25 October 2012

Manchester City are close to persuading former Barcelona director of football Txiki Begiristain to join the club.

In a move which will spell re-organisation behind the scenes at Eastlands, the 48-year-old is ready to team up with his friend, City chief executive and former Barca vice-president, Ferran Soriano despite been courted by Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea.

He will take up a technical director role which will give him responsibility for recruitment and will also look to bring in former Johan Cruyff adviser Joan Patsy.

Join me: Chief executive of Manchester City Ferran Soriano, pictured, could greet his old friend Txiki Begiristain at the club

Join me: Chief executive of Manchester City Ferran Soriano, pictured, could greet his old friend Txiki Begiristain at the club

Begiristain is also a close ally of Pep Guardiola and, following City’s performance against Ajax in the Champions League, the appointment will only further speculation that under-fire coach Roberto Mancini will be replaced by the wily Spaniard.

However, Guardiola is determined to see out his year’s sabbatical despite the likes of Chelsea, AC Milan and Bayern Munich also all maintaining an interest in his next move.

Begiristain, who was an attacking midfielder for John Toshack’s Real Sociedad and Barcelona’s ‘Dream Team’ of the early 1990s, spent seven years as director of football at Barcelona before leaving in 2010.

He was responsible for bringing in the like of Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o and Dani Alves while maintaining the development of La Masia programme which spawned talent such as Lionel Messi.

Coup: Begiristain was responsible for bringing in the likes of Samuel Eto'o (left) at Barcelona

Coup: Begiristain was responsible for bringing in the likes of Samuel Eto'o (left) at Barcelona

Clash: Roberto Mancini has clashed with football administrator Brian Marwood over this season's summer signings, including Javi Garcia (left)

Clash: Roberto Mancini has clashed with Brian Marwood over this season's summer signings, including Javi Garcia, above, and Jack Rodwell, below left

Clash: Roberto Mancini has clashed with football administrator Brian Marwood over this season's summer signings, including Jack Rodwell (left)

His arrival would also change responsibilities for football administrator Brian Marwood who has clashed with Mancini over player recruitment.

Tottenham were very keen for Begiristain to join and he was interested in a move to London but a move to City will underline his belief that they are building the right project to dominate European football.

Celtic chief scout John Park is among other contenders for the role at Tottenham.

Roberto Mancini warns Manchester City that West Bromwich are best in league

West Brom have been the best team in the Premier League, says Mancini as Man City prepare for big test

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UPDATED:

14:02 GMT, 19 October 2012

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini believes this weekend's opponents West Brom have been playing the best football in the country.

Mancini hopes his players quickly recover from their international exertions of the past fortnight to get ready for what he expects to be a challenging trip to The Hawthorns.

The Baggies have made a solid start in the Barclays Premier League under new boss Steve Clarke and are just a point behind Mancini's third-placed champions.

En guard! Mancini has been preparing his players for the clash with West Brom

En guard! Mancini has been preparing his players for the clash with West Brom

Mancini said: 'I should say many compliments to him (Clarke) because he has done a very good job until now.

'In this moment, I think West Bromwich is the team that has played the best football, so tomorrow for us it will be a tough game.

'It is always difficult, this game after the international break. Today is the first date we can work together.

'We need to think and we need to put everything we have into tomorrow's game because it will be very difficult. After that we think about the other games.'

City are unbeaten but yet to hit their stride this season, although they suggested better was to come with an emphatic 3-0 defeat of Sunderland in their last game a fortnight ago.

Mancini anticipates an entertaining contest with both sides keen to express themselves.

The Italian said: 'It is very important when there are two teams that play very good football, I think it is important for the supporters, for everyone.'

The international break has taken a toll on City with midfielders David Silva and Jack Rodwell suffering hamstring injuries representing Spain and England Under 21s respectively.

The problem for Silva, at least, may not be as bad as feared.

The 26-year-old pulled up after just 10
minutes of Spain's World Cup qualifying draw with France on Tuesday and
it was reported he could face a lengthy lay-off.

Final preparations: The City players are returning to domestic action after the break for international duty

Final preparations: The City players are returning to domestic action after the break for international duty

Final preparations: The City players are returning to domestic action after the break for international duty

But although he will also miss Wednesday's crucial Champions League encounter with Ajax, there is a possibility he could be back in action next weekend.

Mancini said: 'He is not ready for tomorrow, and will not be for the Champions League, but we hope for the next game against Swansea.'

There might also have been concerns about the condition of England players Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott and James Milner, who returned later than scheduled after their World Cup qualifier in Poland was put back a day.

But despite the disruption to his preparations, Mancini at least has no worries about their fitness.

The Italian said: 'The English players who played on Wednesday are tired but I am not worried, they have another day to recover.'

Mancini also has no fears about Hart's state of mind ahead of his return to domestic action.

Hart was at fault as Poland claimed their equaliser in the 1-1 draw against England in Warsaw on Wednesday. That came just a fortnight after Hart was widely hailed as the best goalkeeper in the world after a stunning display against Borussia Dortmund.

Winning ways: City beat Sunderland 3-0 in the last league encounter

Winning ways: City beat Sunderland 3-0 in the last league encounter

Praise be! West Brom have made an excellent start to the season

Praise be! West Brom have made an excellent start to the season

Mancini said: 'I think this is a situation that happens when you can play but usually Joe saves everything.'

There have been rumours in recent days suggesting midfield talisman Yaya Toure might want to leave the Etihad Stadium for a new challenge but Mancini was dismissive.

Mancini, speaking at his press conference to preview the West Brom game, said he believes the 29-year-old can continue to get the challenge he wants with City.

Mancini said: 'Every day we have a new challenge here. In two-and-a-half years we won the FA Cup, the Premier League, the Community Shield.

'Now we need to win other cups and other Premier Leagues. We need to work more for this challenge. I think Yaya thinks like me and the other players.

'I am happy Yaya wants a new challenge, I also want a new challenge. I want to win the next game, then the next game in the Champions League. We want to do everything together.'

Mancini also joked about the matter when asked about the challenge West Brom might pose.

He said: 'This is another big challenge for Yaya.'

Mancini has certainly welcomed suggestions Toure might want to sit out next year's African Nations Cup.

Toure's absence during last season's tournament in January and February coincided with the champions' worst spell of the campaign.

Mancini said: 'I didn't speak with Yaya about this. Hopefully we will speak in the next week. I hope he stays here but I don't know.'

Manchester City boss Mancini targets Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets

Manchester City boss Mancini targets Barcelona midfielder Busquets

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UPDATED:

06:14 GMT, 17 October 2012

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini wants Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets to be the club's next star signing.

Mancini is a long-term admirer of the Spain international, and
is lining up a move for the 24-year-old next summer, reports the Daily Mirror.

Traget: Barcelona's Spain midfielder Sergio Busquets (right)

Traget: Barcelona's Spain midfielder Sergio Busquets (right)

Chelsea and Manchester United have been interested in Busquets in the past,
but were both knocked back.

Now Manchester City are hoping a huge fee and lucrative contract may make the deal
happen.

Barcelona have insisted the 24-year-old is not for sale.

But City want to further strengthen their midfield, despite buying Javi
Garcia, Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell in the summer, and ex-Barca man Yaya
Toure has been a huge success since his move to Eastlands.

England U21 1 Serbia U21 0: Craig Dawson scores winner

England U21 1 Serbia U21 0: Dawson spot on to put Pearce's young lions in the driving seat

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UPDATED:

18:51 GMT, 12 October 2012

Craig Dawson slammed home a second-half penalty to give England the advantage at 'half-time' in their European Under 21 Championship play-off against Serbia.

Stuart Pearce's side dominated possession and squandered several decent chances at Carrow Road before West Brom defender Dawson scored from the spot after Tottenham full back Adam Smith had been brought down.

In the driving seat: Dawson celebrates his strike

In the driving seat: Dawson celebrates his strike

MATCH FACTS

England U21: Butland, Smith, Caulker, Dawson, Rose, Sterling, Henderson, Rodwell, Ince, Zaha, Sordell.

Subs: Steele, Bennett, Lees, Lowe, McEachran, Townsend, Wickham.

Serbia U21: Aleksic, Mladenovic, Medojevic, Gudelj, Pantic, Malbasic, Lazovic, Milivojevic, Markovic, Despotovic, Milunovic.

Subs: Kirovski, Kosanovic, Petkovic, Mudrinski, Causic, Kojic, Jojic.

Referee: Deniz Aytekin (Germany)

More to follow…

Stars of the future: England line up before the match

Stars of the future: England line up before the match

Chip off the old block: Paul Ince's son, Thomas started for England

Chip off the old block: Paul Ince's son, Thomas started for England

Halfway there: Pearce watches on from the touchline at Carrow Road

Halfway there: Pearce watches on from the touchline at Carrow Road

Debut: Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling

Debut: Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling

Wing wizard: Wilfried Zaha (left) takes on Luka Milivojevic

Wing wizard: Wilfried Zaha (left) takes on Luka Milivojevic

Manchester City 3 Sunderland 0: match report

Man City 3 Sunderland 0: Kolarov, Aguero and Milner on target as champions cruise

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UPDATED:

14:24 GMT, 6 October 2012

Champions Manchester City recovered some of their swagger as Aleksandar Kolarov, Sergio Aguero and James Milner fired them to a convincing Barclays Premier League win over Sunderland.

The scoreline barely reflected the hosts' dominance as they comfortably recorded their first clean sheet of the season in a one-sided contest at the Etihad Stadium.

There may have been some nerves with only Kolarov's fifth-minute free-kick to show for their first-half efforts, but the Black Cats were then overrun as they slipped to their first loss of the season.

Centre of attention: Kolarov is mobbed after opening the scoring at the Etihad Stadium

Centre of attention: Kolarov is mobbed after opening the scoring at the Etihad Stadium

Match facts

Manchester City: Hart, Richards, Zabaleta, Lescott, Kolarov, Milner, Barry. Silva (Rodwell – 90' ), Y Toure, Tevez (Clichy – 86' ), Balotelli (Aguero – 56' )

Subs not used: Pantilimon, K Toure, Nasri, Dzeko

Goals: Kolarov,Aguero, Milner

Sunderland:Mignolet, O'Shea, Rose (Vaughan – 61' ), Larsson, Gardner, Colback, Johnson (Saha – 68' ), McClean, Sessegnon (Campbell – 83' ), Fletcher

Subs not used: Westwood, Kilgallon, Bramble, Meyler

Booked: Cuellar, Gardner, Colback

Referee: Lee Probert

Attendance: 47,036

Click here for the latest Premier League results, fixtures and table

Aguero came off the bench to add the second on the hour and Milner fired a free-kick through Simon Mignolet after 89 minutes.

Just as pleasing for City will have
been their defensive solidity, which they rediscovered without their
backline linchpin and captain Vincent Kompany, who was ruled out with a
calf injury.

Micah Richards made a surprise return from an ankle injury in his place while Joleon Lescott was also restored to the defence.

Yaya Toure took over as skipper,
playing alongside Gareth Barry in midfield, while Carlos Tevez and Mario
Balotelli started up front.

Sunderland had former City winger
Adam Johnson in their side hoping to make a point, but the England
international was unable to make an impression.

City took the lead after Tevez was
crudely brought down by Carlos Cuellar on their first attack. The
Argentinian had broken clear but was felled by a late tackle on the edge
of the box and referee Lee Probert brandished the yellow card.

The City supporters felt it should
have been red but they did not complain for long as Kolarov stepped up
to curl a superb free-kick past Mignolet at the near post.

Not for the first time this season,
Mario Balotelli was earmarked for some testing treatment by defenders
but, although playing within himself, dealt with it well.

On target: The Serbia international gave City the lead with his first-half free-kick

On target: The Serbia international gave City the lead with his first-half free-kick

The Italian held off a challenge to
shoot over but was later clumsily brought down by Craig Gardner and was
unlucky not to get a free-kick.

City went close to a second as a
Tevez shot was deflected into Pablo Zabaleta's path but Mignolet –
making amends for any fault on his part for Kolarov's goal – saved at
point-blank range.

Tevez drove the ball back across goal after it found his way back to him but Zabaleta was unable to turn it in.

Advantage City: Aguero gave the hosts a 2-0 lead in the second half

Advantage City: Aguero gave the hosts a 2-0 lead in the second half

Balotelli then did win a free-kick on
the edge of the box after being caught in the face by Gardner's boot.
Kolarov took aim once again but his effort was deflected behind for a
corner, perhaps with a suspicion of handball, by Sebastian Larsson.
Balotelli curled an effort wide and felt he should have had another
free-kick after clashing with John O'Shea.

David Silva was clipped by Danny
Rose but the referee played advantage and the Sunderland defender got
back to prevent a Milner cross reaching Balotelli. Barry drove wide as
City continued to push and Sunderland's best efforts amounted to
ineffective shots from James McClean and Steven Fletcher. City started
the second half well with Toure cutting inside and forcing Mignolet to
palm over.

Ace: Aguero scored shortly after coming on as a substitute

Ace: Aguero scored shortly after coming on as a substitute

A chance fell to Richards from the
resulting corner and his shot at the second attempt was cleared off the
line by Rose. Sunderland finally began to apply some pressure but a
powerful header by Fletcher, which brought a fine save from Joe Hart,
was ruled offside.

Kolarov then produced a fine tackle
to deny Johnson a clear run on goal. That served to shake City back into
life and a sliding Balotelli was inches away from diverting a Kolarov
cross towards goal. Richards then brought a good diving save out of
Mignolet with a powerful header from a Milner cross.

City slickers: The champions closed the gap to Chelsea at the summit of the Premier League

City slickers: The champions closed the gap to Chelsea at the summit of the Premier League

Game over: Balotelli walked straight down the tunnel after he was substituted

Game over: Balotelli walked straight down the tunnel after he was substituted

The second goal finally came as
Aguero – on moments earlier for Balotelli, much to the Italian's
disappointment – raced to the near post to turn in a vicious Kolarov
ball from six yards.

That effectively signalled the end
for Sunderland but City wanted more for their dominance. Silva played in
Tevez, who drove narrowly wide, and then roles were reversed as the
Argentinian rounded Mignolet to set up the Spaniard, whose sublime chip
hit the bar.

Barry tried his luck but Gardner headed away before Richards again saw a chance blocked on the line in a crowded penalty area.

Not a happy return: Adam Johnson was replaced by Louis Saha after 68 minutes at the Etihad Stadium

Not a happy return: Adam Johnson was replaced by Louis Saha after 68 minutes at the Etihad Stadium

Not a happy return: Adam Johnson was replaced by Louis Saha after 68 minutes at the Etihad Stadium

Richards was wild with an attempted
overhead kick moments later and Toure was narrowly off-target with a
long-range effort. City threatened again after another slick move
involving Richards, Aguero and Tevez but O'Shea managed to foil them.

Yet they would not settle for two and
Milner whipped in a free-kick from the left of the box which took a
slight deflection off the head of Gardner to evade Mignolet's grasp.

Joe Hart hailed by Wayne Rooney as world"s best

Rooney labels Hart 'best in the world' after keeper's stunning Dortmund display

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UPDATED:

23:19 GMT, 3 October 2012

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has hailed his Man City rival Joe Hart for his heroics in goal against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night.

Roberto Mancini's team were dominated by their German opponents and were it not for several splendid saves from Hart they would surely have taken a heavy beating.

'Have to say Joe Hart has been
incredible. For me best keeper in the world,' enthused Rooney of his
England colleague on Twitter.

Denied: Joe Hart put in a superb display

Denied: Joe Hart put in a superb display

No way: Mario Gotze was denied by the stopper

No way: Mario Gotze was denied by the stopper

Hart was finally beaten by Marco Reus after 62 minutes when the German attacker surged in to the box and slammed home.

Jack Rodwell's suicidal pass across the face of his defence was intercepted by the firebrand who made no mistake with a powerful finish.

Mario Balotelli earned City a draw with a last-gasp penalty but there was still time for Hart to have the final say.

Having
denied Ilkay Gundogan and Mario Gotze with fine saves during the game,
he rescued his side by denying Poland striker Robert Lewandowski at the
death.

Tipped over: Hart made several splendid saves, prompting Wayne Rooney's tweet (below)

Tipped over: Hart made several splendid saves, prompting Wayne Rooney's tweet (below)

High praise: Rooney's tweet

Hart said: ‘It could have been 10-all tonight. I thought their keeper was fantastic. But Mario was never going to miss the penalty. I don’t know if it was a penalty, but we pushed hard and wanted a point.

‘We have come out of the game alive. Off the top of my head, I can’t ever remember making as many saves (as I did tonight). Dortmund were different class.

‘I hope this result is important and that it is not a waste of effort. This game shows just how tough this group is.'

P.S.

Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller also had a fine match, but his attempt to pysche-out Balotelli for Man City's late penalty failed miserably.

The keeper got up in the Italian's face before his penalty but Balotelli sent him the wrong way from the spot and then gave him some pointed gestures.

1: Roman Weidenfeller tries to put off Mario Balotelli

1: Roman Weidenfeller tries to put off Mario Balotelli

2: Balotelli dispatched the spot-kick coolly

2: Balotelli dispatched the spot-kick coolly

3: The Italian went to get the ball

3: The Italian went to get the ball

4: Then gave the keeper a piece of his mind

4: Then gave the keeper a piece of his mind