Champions League

Fans hail Hart as Man City reach group phase

2016-08-25 07:59
Joe Hart (Getty Image)

Manchester - Joe Hart played potentially his last Manchester City game as Pep Guardiola's team rubber-stamped their place in the Champions League group phase by beating Steaua Bucharest 1-0 on Wednesday.

Leading 5-0 from last week's away leg, City completed a 6-0 aggregate victory courtesy of Fabian Delph's second-half header, putting them in Thursday's group-stage draw in Monaco with room to spare.

But the spotlight at a less than full Etihad Stadium fell squarely on goalkeeper Hart, whose name was chanted by the home fans throughout the game after he was frozen out by new manager Guardiola.

"That was a really special night for me," Hart, City's captain for the night, told BT Sport.

"We all know there is a situation going on. This is a special place for me, I've made no secret of that. But situations occur in football. We are men and we get on with it."

With Claudio Bravo poised to complete a £17m move from Barcelona, this could have been Hart's 348th and final City appearance.

A veteran of City's two Premier League title wins, two League Cup successes and 2011 FA Cup triumph, the England goalkeeper, 29, applauded all four corners of the ground before going off at the end.

Hart has been linked with a move to Everton or Sevilla.

His fellow outcast Yaya Toure was also handed a first competitive start of the season by Guardiola, who saw Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho hobble off with a muscular injury late on.

'PIGS DO FLY'

A picture of Hart had been removed from the stadium's exterior wall prior to the game as part of a visual facelift, but City's fans made it clear they were unhappy about his treatment by Guardiola.

One group of fans held a banner reading "A GOOD HART THESE DAYS IS HARD TO FIND" and a chant of "Don't sell Joe Hart!" broke out within seconds of kick-off.

Guardiola has justified his decision to sideline Hart by citing concerns about his passing ability and there were ironic cheers every time the City goalkeeper successfully picked out a team-mate.

Asked about his successful footwork after the game, Hart joked: "Pigs do fly!"

City controlled the game, but although Iheanacho, Nolito and Delph all hit the target in the first half, none of them came close to troubling Steaua goalkeeper Valentin Cojocaru.

After drawing a block from Cojocaru, Delph made the breakthrough in the 56th minute when he converted Jesus Navas's right-wing cross with a glancing header.

But the home fans had other preoccupations and after a chant of "Stand up if you love Joe Hart!" had drawn almost everyone in the ground to their feet, his first save, from Adrian Popa, prompted a huge cheer.

There were two further saves, to repel a free-kick from Nicolae Stanciu and a close-range Alexandru Tudorie effort, and both were greeted in the same manner.

A straightforward evening for Guardiola took an unwelcome twist towards the end when Iheanacho pulled up abruptly as he chased a through ball and had to be stretchered off.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
27 September 2016
CSKA Moscow v Tottenham Hotspur, Arena CSKA 20:45
Sporting Lisbon v Legia Warsaw, Estadio Jose Alvalade 20:45
Leicester City v FC Porto, King Power Stadium 20:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Juventus, Maksimir 20:45
FC København v Club Brugge, Parken Stadion 20:45
Sevilla v Lyon, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 20:45
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid, Signal Iduna Park 20:45
Monaco v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Stade Louis II 20:45
28 September 2016
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Barcelona, Borussia-Park 20:45
Celtic v Manchester City, Celtic Park 20:45
Arsenal v FC Basel, Emirates Stadium 20:45
FC Rostov v PSV, Olimp-2 Stadium 20:45
Napoli v Benfica, San Paolo 20:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Paris Saint-Germain, Vasil Levski National Stadium 20:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Bayern München, Vicente Calderon 20:45
Besiktas v Dynamo Kyiv, Vodafone Arena 20:45
18 October 2016
CSKA Moscow v Monaco, Arena CSKA 20:45
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Tottenham Hotspur, BayArena 20:45
Sporting Lisbon v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Jose Alvalade 20:45
Club Brugge v FC Porto, Jan Breydelstadion 20:45
Leicester City v FC København, King Power Stadium 20:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Sevilla, Maksimir 20:45
Lyon v Juventus, Parc OL 20:45
Real Madrid v Legia Warsaw, Santiago Bernabeu 20:45
19 October 2016
FC Bayern München v PSV, Allianz Arena 20:45
Barcelona v Manchester City, Camp Nou 20:45
Celtic v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Celtic Park 20:45
Arsenal v Ludogorets Razgrad, Emirates Stadium 20:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Benfica, Kiev Olympic Stadium 20:45
FC Rostov v Atlético de Madrid, Olimp-2 Stadium 20:45
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Basel, Parc des Princes 20:45
Napoli v Besiktas, San Paolo 20:45
01 November 2016
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

Big month in the world of golf as the FedEx Cup concludes on the PGA Tour, the Race to Dubai gathers steam on the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour offers local golfers the chance to bank some cash. Oh, and not forgetting the USA v Europe Ryder Cup showdown at Hazeltine!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.