No nerves for Balotelli

City striker keeps his cool to stroke home crucial penalty

Mario Balotelli celebrates with Sergio Aguero after his late winner against Spurs

Mario Balotelli celebrates with Sergio Aguero after his late winner against Spurs

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Mario Balotelli insisted he felt no nerves as he stepped up for the match-winning spot-kick in Manchester City's thrilling 3-2 victory over Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium.

The substitute calmly beat Brad Friedel from 12 yards in the fifth minute of added time, taking responsibility after being brought down by Ledley King in the box.

City had earlier thrown away the two-goal advantage they carved out through Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott early in the second half, with Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale pulling Spurs level, with all four goals coming in the space of 10 manic minutes.

Balotelli, who was perhaps fortunate to still be on the field after catching the prone Scott Parker in the head with a flailing boot, fired Roberto Mancini's men eight points clear of their third-placed rivals with his cool late strike.

"Nothing," he told Sky Sports, when asked if he was feeling any nerves. "I was calm, like every time I take a penalty."

Massive

Spurs were unfortunate to end up on the losing side after their superb comeback, with the North London side also seeing a late chance go begging when Defoe just failed to convert Bale's cross as he slid in at the far post.

City midfielder James Milner added: "It's massive, we knew how big a game it was.

"They've been playing really well and they had the incentive with how we played at their place (winning 5-1 in August).

"It was an exciting game for the neutral but we'd like it a bit more boring next time!

"We took our foot off the gas, gave them one sloppy goal and they're a good team, if you give them a sniff it gives them the momentum to go on.

"We were well on top, scored the two goals and probably should have controlled the game better than we did."