Premier League - Hart hands City point at Spurs

Eurosport - Mon, 16 Aug 00:08:00 2010

Goalkeeper Joe Hart was the hero as Manchester City grabbed a 0-0 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in the opening match of the Premier League season.

- 0

The Englishman was preferred to Shay Given and produced a magnificent display to deny a Tottenham side who could not turn their dominance into goals.

Having taken his summer spending past 100 million on Friday with the capture of Mario Balotelli, City boss Roberto Mancini duly gave starts to new boys David Silva, Yaya Toure and Aleksandar Kolarov.

But the biggest selection decision came in goal, where Given was displaced by Hart, who spent last season on loan to Birmingham City.

Given is one of the Premier League's best goalkeepers, but even he would have struggled to produce an array of saves to match Hart in the first half.

Miss a Match? We didn't

Tottenham 0 Man City 0

In the 11th minute, Jermain Defoe swivelled and hit a right-foot volley from close range, but Hart instinctively stuck out a big paw to deny his England team-mate with a brilliant reflex stop.

The 23-year-old had no time to rest on his laurels, and five minutes later punched a corner clear, then reacted well to make a diving save when Tom Huddlestone returned the ball with interest on the volley.

Seconds after that, Hart did it again, stretching behind himself to prevent a deflected Benoit Assou-Ekotto shot from finding the top-right corner.

Hart wasn't finished. He used his legs to stop another close-range Defoe effort, then denied him as he raced through on the break, before helping to disrupt the striker as he seized on the rebound.

When Gareth Bale finally beat the goalkeeper, the woodwork saved City, as the Welshman's diagonal shot crashed back off the base of the right-hand post.

Bale enjoyed an exceptional start to the season marauding down the left, while Aaron Lennon gave Kolarov a torrid time - the Serbian was withdrawn at half-time with an ankle knock.

While Spurs were vibrant, City struggled to create anything. Their formation had new captain Carlos Tevez as a lone striker, while the defensive-minded Gareth Barry, Nigel de Jong and Yaya Toure all played in central midfield.

The second period was just seconds old when Shaun Wright-Phillips - surprisingly preferred to Adam Johnson - broke through the Spurs offside trap and had a glorious chance to score against the run of play. But the winger dawdled for an age, and Benoit Assou-Ekotto, whose failure to track Wright-Phillips led to the chance, chased back to make a saving tackle.

Spurs were unable to reproduce their vibrant first-half display, although Bale and Lennon remained potent outlets out wide.

Harry Redknapp reacted by changing both front men, Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko replacing Defoe and Crouch.

The Russian tested Hart twice, the first time from a quick break after a City corner, but his 25-yard shot was saved.

However, Hart got rid of the ball hurriedly, gifting possession back to Spurs, and Pavlyuchenko had another go; but again the goalkeeper held it.

Pavlyuchenko was involved again as he crossed from the right for Keane whose attempt was blocked, and De Jong reacted superbly to get in the way of Bale's follow-up.

Alex Chick / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account