Goalkeeper Joe Hart was the star as his Manchester City side tied Tottenham 0-0 in the season- opening game in English soccer’s Premier League.
“I was prepared like I was playing in the World Cup,” Hart said in an interview with Sky Sports. “Shay Given is the other goalkeeper and I’m sure he’ll get his chances. We’ll be pushing each other.”
Hart stopped shots from Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Ledley King, Tom Huddlestone and Benoit Assou-Ekotto as Tottenham made a fast-paced start. Gareth Bale then hit the post, with Vincent Kompany blocking Aaron Lennon’s follow-up, and Hart stopped another effort from Defoe to keep the game scoreless at the half.
City’s Shaun Wright-Phillips broke free in the second half but failed to convert as the Tottenham defense recovered. Carlos Tevez then had a shot go over after deflecting off a defender with about 20 minutes remaining.
Hart was forced to the ground to stop two shots from Roman Pavlyuchenko, who replaced Defoe in the second half, then caught Lennon’s curling shot from the edge of the area.
Bale shot wide with six minutes left and Kompany slid to prevent a pass from reaching Payluchenko in the area. Hart then easily gathered in Bale’s header in stoppage time.
Among the day’s later games, Blackpool, back in the top division of English soccer for the first time since 1971, visits Wigan and defending champion Chelsea hosts promoted West Bromwich.