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Premier League

  • January 22, 2012
  • • 8:30 AM
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 47422

Manchester City 3-2 Tottenham: Mario Balotelli nets stoppage-time penalty to foil Spurs' comeback in sensational second half

The home side gains crucial victory in the Premier League title race as five goals are scored in a sensational second half at the Etihad Stadium as visitors throw away point.

Manchester City recorded a sensational 3-2 victory over Tottenham as Mario Balotelli netted a stoppage-time penalty to give the home side a precious win in the Premier League title race.

City took the lead in the 56th minute when Samir Nasri crashed the ball into the net after
latching onto David Silva’s delightful through ball. Joleon Lescott doubled the lead minutes later scrambling in an effort from a corner.

Spurs responded immediately and capitalized on an error from Stefan Savic as Jermain Defoe beat Joe Hart to the ball and struck home into an empty net. Bale looked to have completed the comeback for the visitors with a fantastic striker from outside the area as his left footed volley sailed into the top corner.

However, Balotelli was felled in the area by Ledley King and the striker made no mistake from the spot converting it into the bottom corner to give City the three points.

Roberto Mancini made one change to his team that beat Wigan on Monday with the fit-again Micah Richards replacing Pablo Zabaleta in the starting lineup while Mario Balotelli returned to the bench. City was still without the suspended Vincent Kompany and brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure who were away at the African Cup of Nations.

Harry Redknapp was able to call on captain Ledley King after the England International had recovered from a hamstring injury that ruled him out of the past six games, coming in for Michael Dawson. Emmanuel Adebayor was ineligible to play against his parent club so Jermain Defoe was handed a rare start to replace him up-front.

City tested the abilities of King early on after his layoff but the defender proved there was no rust in his play as he managed to block Sergio Aguero’s effort after the Argentine had twisted and turned his way into a decent position.

After the troubles of their partnership in the game against Wigan, Aguero and Edin Dzeko communication seemed to have improved until the Bosnian walked in front of his strike partner’s goal-bound effort after the 23-year-old had been set up by a lovely ball from David Silva.

Mancini’s side was having the better of the half and should have taken the lead through Silva after the Spaniard linked up well with Aguero, who laid the ball back to the former Valencia man but he couldn’t direct his shot goal-wards and fired wide of the post.

City spurned yet another opportunity when Richards pounced on a loose pass from King and drove into the Spurs area. He squared the ball for Aguero but the Argentine’s strike was straight at Friedel, who made a good save with his feet.

The visitors looked lively at the start of the second half as they looked to hit Mancini’s side on the counterattack as Luka Modric raided down the left and picked out the run of Gareth Bale in the area. However, the Welshman slipped at the crucial moment and missed the ball.

Spurs were made to rue this chance City took the lead through Nasri as he was put through by a delightful ball from Silva as he dissected the Tottenham defense with a pinpoint pass to the Frenchman, who peeled off Kyle Walker and smashed the ball past Friedel into the top corner.

The home side doubled its lead in the 59th minute through Lescott as he scrambled the ball into the net escaping the attentions of his marker from a corner after latching onto Dzeko’s flick-on.

Spurs waited just a minute to get back into the game as Defoe pounced on a mistake by defender Stefan Savic, as the Montenegrin defender misjudged his clearing header. The striker when one-on-one with Joe Hart showed composure and by calmly placing the ball past the England keeper into an empty net.

Redknapp’s side shocked the Etihad Stadium by getting an equalizer in spectacular fashion as Bale picked up the ball outside the area and crashed a sublime volleyed effort over Hart into the net to send the visiting supporters and the Spurs boss into raptures.

Both sides were upping the ante towards the end of the game trying to force a winner but both defenses were up to the challenge of keeping their attackers at bay as neither side wanted to give up their share of the points.

Tottenham had the best chances to steal the points in stoppage time as Bale broke down the left and picked out an unmarked Jermain Defoe in the area but the striker couldn’t direct his effort goal-wards and the ball went agonizingly past the past sparing City’s blushes.

However, City won the game with the last kick as King brought down substitute Balotelli in the area and referee Howard Webb pointed to the spot.  The Italian took the penalty himself calmly slotting the ball past Friedel.

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