Champions League

Hart enjoys special night, remains coy on exit

2016-08-25 10:52
Joe Hart (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Joe Hart enjoyed a special night as he made his first start for Manchester City under Pep Guardiola in the 1-0 Champions League victory over Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday night.

The result saw City progress to the group stage of the famous competition with a 6-0 aggregate win, with only Fabian Delph adding to last week's rout as he headed home a pin-point Jesus Navas cross on 56 minutes.

Hart was one of eight changes made by Guardiola for the tie with fans signing and chanting his name throughout the match.

Yaya Toure also recalled to the side as 19-year-old Spanish right-back Pablo Maffeo also started.

Speaking to the club's official website after the tie, an emotional Hart revealed he was moved by the reception from fans.

He said: "That was a really special night for me.

"I've had a lot of good nights in football but that was a really nice night for me. I'm really happy that Fabian scored and he's won us a game in the Champions League.

"This is a special place for me and it's a place I love to be. Situations occur in football and we're men, we get on with it. I really appreciate the people of Manchester City and it turns out they appreciate me. Tonight I played for Manchester City and I enjoyed every moment of it."

Hart also reserved praise for his new manager despite facing an uncertain future at the club.

He added: "We've got a top manager that the club has wanted for a long time and he's going to have his opinion on things."

Delph, meanwhile, is looking forward to seeing who City are paired with in the draw that takes place on Thursday at 17:00 BST.

He said: "We went in to the game as though we needed to win. It was 5-0 in the first leg but they sat behind the ball and made it difficult and tried to counter on our mistakes. We changed it at half-time and we managed to get the goal and see it through.

"We've got a great team and a great squad as tonight as shown with the number of changes we made. I'll be watching the draw on Thursday and feeling pretty comfortable with whoever we've got."

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