Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart dives to make a save, then celebrates… (Bret Hartman / Associated…)
With a dive to his right and a kick to his left, Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart provided the difference in Sunday's exhibition match against the Galaxy. Hart blocked A.J. DeLaGarza's attempt and then made his own to win the shootout, 7-6, after nine rounds.
"I couldn't wait," Hart said of his rare chance to view the goal from the outside. "I was trying to take it earlier."
After 90 minutes the match stood knotted up at 1-1, thanks to a 53rd-minute goal from Galaxy forward Mike Magee that equaled Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli's penalty-kick goal in the first half.
On their way to the goal before the shootout began, Hart and Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk could be seen talking and laughing. Galaxy midfielder Juninho provided the first miss in the shootout, hitting the left post, but Perk evened the festivities by blocking forward John Guidetti's attempt in the fifth round.
"It was a lot of fun," Perk said. "There is no pressure at that point, it's just a friendly, and the kickers are expected to make them, so we're just out there having a blast.
"I can't tell you guys [what was said before the shootout]. It's between me and him in the heat of the moment, so I'll have to take that to my grave."
Magee managed to get past Hart with a 25-yard shot into the upper corner of the goal, but aside from that score Hart made four saves.
"There were a lot of quality saves that he made in the game," Perk said. "It was pretty much me watching him … trying to take a little bit away from his game and put it into my game."
Galaxy midfielder Dan Keat opened the goal-scoring sequence by crossing the ball over to midfielder Chris Birchall. Birchall headed the ball directly to an open Magee.
"When I saw that ball bounce the way it did and he was able to volley it, I had a feeling he was going to get it on goal," Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said. "It was a fabulous goal against a fabulous goalkeeper."
Balotelli's afternoon ended shortly after his 20th-minute penalty kick slipped by Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders, who played the first half. Less than 10 minutes later, Balotelli had a breakaway for what should have been an easy goal, but instead he stopped, spun and kicked the ball with his right heel. The ill-advised trickery sent the ball wide right, and Manchester City Coach Roberto Mancini sent Balotelli straight to the bench following the showboating in front of 24,897 fans at the Home Depot Center.
"In football you should be serious always," Mancini said. "If you have a chance to score, you should score … For him, I hope it's an important lesson."