Manchester City secured a comfortable win last night against Steaua Bucharest, but what really was the highlight of the night, was how the crowd shared an emotional moment with Joe Hart. Pep has been vocal about not wanting the goalkeeper to continue at the club, and a lot of speculation has been made as to whether or not he really should be at the club or not. However, witnessing something like that last night, goes to show what football is really about.
As far as his performance goes, Hart put in his part and maintained a clean sheet. He also produced a couple of great saves, which only amplified the crowd’s chants which beseeched Guardiola to change his mind and retain Hart.
However, Guardiola has made it clear that Hart does not meet his standards, and in that regard, last night could’ve been one of Hart’s last appearance for the Citizens. Hart has definitely been having a rough roller-coaster of a time at City, off-late. He was made captain by Guardiola, but then once Claudio Bravo was about to finalise his move from Barcelona, Hart was asked to sit out.
Manchester City’s next game will be against West Ham United at the Etihad stadium on Sunday, and by then, Hart would probably be the third choice goalkeeper. It’s a tough fall from being captain to the being asked to sit out of games, and Hart should leave City as that would be in his best interest. One major thing that Hart can take away from this would be how much of a chord he had struck with the supporters.
His name was cheered extra loudly when the names were announced before kick-off, and every time he touched the ball, the cheers became louder. The crowd even chanted something on the lines of – “Don’t sell Joe Hart, Please don’t sell Joe Hart, I just don’t think you understand.”
Truth is, Hart deserves a lot better than this kind of treatment. But maybe, sometimes being a good manager means being ruthless. Schweinsteiger is also facing a similar situation in the other Manchester camp, thanks to Jose Mourinho.
Coming back to the game, City went into this game confident after their 5-0 win against Bucharest in their first leg. The Romanian club played to just contain the game, and did not attempt anything risky as perhaps they were afraid of having to go in for another challenging loss.
The first half was very uneventful – the only interesting thing being a free kick by Yaya Toure which went too wide, and then Kelechi Iheanacho sent in a shot right to the goalkeeper Valentin Cojocaru.
However, Manchester City dominated the first half and they upped the ante in the second. Fabian Delph and John Stones scuffled a bit to score, but both attempts were either wide, or were saved by Cojocaru.
The goal came off a Jesus Navas cross which was headed in past Cojocaru by Delph from six yards. City lost Iheanacho to an injury in the 74th minute owing to a sharp pull in the opposition’s penalty area.
Manchester City would hope its not a serious injury, but if it is one, then they would be forced to cancel their plans to get a transfer deal for Wilfred Bony before next Wednesday’s transfer deadline.