LONDON (Reuters) – Joe Hart avoided the wrath of his manager after the England goalkeeper’s blushes were spared by Yaya Toure’s late penalty in Manchester City’s 2-1 victory over Norwich City on Saturday.
Hart dropped the ball at the feet of Cameron Jerome with seven minutes remaining, allowing Norwich the softest of equalisers, and had Toure not netted his spot kick City would have been overtaken by Arsenal as Premier League leaders.
“It was unfortunate. Sometimes these things happen. Joe is human and he can make mistakes,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini told reporters.
“Apart from that error there were only two shots at him in the game and he saved those because he is a very good goalkeeper.”
City had taken the lead in the 67th minute through Nicolas Otamendi, his first goal for the club, and Pellegrini said the way his side responded to Hart’s mishap spoke volumes for their resilience.
“Unfortunately they drew level with a very unlucky goal but in the last 10 minutes the team demonstrated its personality and character,” he added.
“We believe in what we can do and we went on to score what was a clear penalty and then miss another.”
Toure was given the chance to win the game for City after Russell Martin was red-carded for handling Raheem Sterling’s goalbound shot with Norwich keeper John Ruddy out of position.
Fifth from bottom Norwich have now lost four successive league games.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Tony Jimenez)