Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Balotelli hat-trick sees off Villa

Balotelli hat-trick sees off Villa

Mario Balotelli gave Manchester City fans something to smile about _ and even cracked a grin himself _ as his hat trick helped City to a comfortable 4-0 win that puts it provisionally top of the Premier League table.
English media reports have suggested that Balotelli wants to leave City after failing to settle in Manchester but he was made to feel at home by the Aston Villa defense on Tuesday.
City, who could even afford to rest topscorer Carlos Tevez, was ahead in the 8th minute through a Balotelli penalty before Joleon Lescott's header doubled the lead in the 13th. Balotelli then notched his second with less than half-an-hour gone after good play from the excellent David Silva.
Balotelli's third again came from the penalty spot to leave struggling Villa just two points above the relegation zone.
The win moved City a point clear of rival Manchester United, who plays Birmingham later today. City has 38 points from 20 games, but has played three games more than United and two more than third-place Arsenal.
Balotelli has endured a disrupted start to his City career following his 22.5 million pounds ($35 million) move from Inter Milan, suffering from injuries and reported homesickness. However, starting in place of Tevez, the Italian demonstrated why City manager Roberto Mancini is keen to hold on to him.
City dominated the early exchanges and went ahead when Eric Lichaj bundled Balotelli to the ground after the striker had latched on to Silva's through ball. Balotelli was quickly up on his feet to coolly slot the penalty past Brad Friedel, sending the American 'keeper the wrong way.
Less than five minutes later, Yaya Toure had a shot deflected wide after being played in by another Silva pass and from the resultant corner it was 2-0 to City.
Adam Johnson's cross found Lescott just outside the six-yard box and his header was adjudged to have crossed the goal line despite Barry Bannan's attempted clearance.
And City scored its third having barely broken sweat, Balotelli poking home the loose ball after Silva had exchanged passes with Toure inside the area and fired a low shot that Friedel could only palm across the face of goal.
In the 33rd, Silva was denied the goal his performance deserved when his effort from inside the penalty area was deflected wide by Lichaj after an intricate dribble and cross from Johnson.
Villa rarely threatened in the first half, with a Stewart Downing free-kick that flew narrowly over and a Marc Albrighton strike that brought a sprawling save from Joe Hart the closest they came to a goal.
After the break, Friedel saved from Patrick Vieira's half volley before Johnson was tripped by Albrighton to hand Balotelli the chance to complete his hat-trick, which he did by again calmly deceiving Friedel from 12 yards.
Substitute Jo volleyed over from the edge of the six-yard box as City pressed for a fifth while at the other end Hart had to remain alert to turn a long-range drive from Fabian Delph around the post.
U.S. international Lichaj drew another good save from Hart with three minutes to go as the visiting side succumbed to a fifth defeat in its last six league games.


Updated : 2021-05-11 15:06 GMT+08:00