Balotelli saves City at the death



MANCHESTER City striker Mario Balotelli last night scored an audaciously-confident late penalty to rescue his side from a second loss from two Champions League fixtures.

The charismatic Italian casually stroked his 90th-minute effort into the back of the net after Neven Subotic’s handball had given them a penalty with what was certain to be one of the final attacks of the evening, but the reality is that beyond Marco Reus’s 62nd-minute goal, the German champions would have been safely in front had it not been for a superb individual, match-saving performance from City’s England goalkeeper Joe Hart.

On two occasions the excellent German international forward Mario Gotze had dangerous efforts tipped onto the woodwork, while the normally reliable Robert Lewandowski stabbed one particularly-promising shot just wide when through with a one-on-one on goal.

Both teams had myriad chances with which to score but overall it was Dortmund who possessed the more constant threat.

When City midfielder Javi Garcia was injured in the 34th-minute, manager Roberto Mancini replaced him with the relatively inexperienced Jack Rodwell, who was returning from injury, but it proved to be an effectively costly decision.

Under no real pressure, with City comfortably in possession in defence, Rodwell failed to look up and played a blind, sluggish pass into the path of Reus who advanced on Hart and powerfully shot his side ahead.

City thereafter looked unlikely to score until an optimistic attack from Aguero drew the handball and penalty from which Balotelli ultimately equalised.