Balotelli denies Dortmund win
Mario Balotelli, right, scores a second-half penalty to secure a draw for Manchester City
Substitute Mario Balotelli rescued Manchester City's Champions League campaign with a late penalty equaliser in a pulsating 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund.
The German champions looked set to edge a contest dominated by both goalkeepers after Marco Reus pounced on a Jack Rodwell mistake to score just after the hour. City keeper Joe Hart and his opposite number Roman Weidenfeller had both produced a string of outstanding saves to keep their respective sides in the game at the Etihad Stadium.
However, Balotelli's late effort, after a contentious handball decision, ensured City now at least have a point from their opening two games in Group D.
City flew in as early as the first minute, as Samir Nasri hit the target with a snap-shot from the edge of the area which Weidenfeller parried. Dortmund also went close early on when Robert Lewandowski headed over from a Lukasz Piszczek cross. Hart produced the first of a series of fine saves to tip a Mario Gotze shot from the edge of the area on to the post after a quick Dortmund counter-attack.
The breathless opening continued as Marcel Schmelzer and Jakub Blaszczykowski cut through City with some fine interplay, but the hosts managed to recover and clear their lines. Hart came to City's rescue twice in quick succession to deny Gotze, first blocking at close range and then tipping a thunderous drive on to the bar.
City went close again when Zabaleta floated in a dangerous cross, but after it dropped just over Dzeko's head, Silva could only volley over. Dortmund had the last chance of the first half when Ilkay Gundogan found space in the area, but Hart, yet again, was equal to the shot.
Edin Dzeko did well to control a Yaya Toure pass with his chest early in the second half but his shot lacked the power to trouble Weidenfeller. City's poor luck with injuries in the competition continued as Nasri was forced off and Aleksandar Kolarov took his place. Meanwhile, Hart was stretched again as he turned away a swerving shot from Gotze.
But the England number one could do little after Rodwell gifted the ball to Reus with a poor pass just after the hour and the Dortmund attacker burst forward to blast into the net. The hosts were again lucky to stay in the game as Lewandowski first shot over and then put wide moments later after being picked out with a superb pass from Gundogan.
City boss Roberto Mancini surprisingly opted not to turn to Carlos Tevez in his attempts to snatch a result in the closing stages, instead sending on the unpredictable Balotelli. City kept the pressure on and gained a very fortunate penalty decision when Aguero hooked the ball towards goal and it struck Subotic's arm at point-blank range.
Balotelli did not complain and he stepped up to despatch a cool spot-kick into the bottom corner. The drama was not over and, fittingly, Hart had the final word as he kept out a strong drive from Lewandowski.
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Only Joe Hart shone. Best goal keeping performance he's had since he started playing, I'd guess. Tonight confirmed he is one of the Worlds top three keepers. Spectacular display from a great charector. Typical Balotelli penalty, 9 out of 9 now. Mr cool. Takes some bottle to slide it in so slowly after sending the keeper the wrong way
On this showing its not surprising that Dortmund was so dominant in the Bundesleage last year. They were a tougher opponent than Real and City were lucky to get the draw. Good to see no diving by either team though.It was a pleasant change for such a highly charged game to be played by sportsmen on both sides.
The truth is City's defense isn't as strong without a midfield stopper since de Jonge left and there's no one in the squad to fulfill that role. It wouldn't be such a problem in the Premiership, but it will be in the CL. Be interesting to see what Mancini's planning to stop the leaks, because he's going to have to do something.
well what do you know aguero was right after all foreign players [ subotic ] never get decisions going their way bet he doesnt cry over that bad call
It was a very good game, fast flowing. but city need to be a lot better in defense.
to change it as mancini did was a very bad idea. but it does show that city can play very well.
i also think tha tevez should have played. it was agood result. very good game end to end football.
both goal keepers had a great game.
city will probably not go through and i did think that they would not win. a draw was a good result.
silva was great.
i hope that fergy took note as he was there. he will need to improve utd as so far they have only played
one good team and lost.
Was it a poor performance from City, or are Dortmund a very good team? I suspect a bit of both, but we saw a really good performance from the German Champions last night.
They closed us down better, controlled the ball better, always had a man available while City didn't and just seemed to have a better overall plan.
It shows what a joked EUFA rules are when these 4 teams can be 'drawn' in the same group. In the Champion's League, surely Champions should enjoy the right to be seeded and kept apart until the later stages?