Joe Hart tells UEFA.com how he prepared to save Raffael's penalty and help Manchester City win at Borussia Mönchengladbach, a victory Kevin De Bruyne admitted had "a bit of luck".
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Had it not been for the brilliance of Joe Hart in the 2-1 win at Borussia Mönchengladbach, Manchester City could easily be staring down the barrel of early UEFA Champions League elimination once again.
City, without inspirational captain Vincent Kompany through injury, were carved open with almost alarming ease and regularity by their hosts, who were thwarted time and again by the quick reflexes of the visiting goalkeeper.
Not only did the 28-year-old deny Raffael and Patrick Herrmann with instinctive stops in one-on-one situations, he also saved the Brazilian's 19th-minute penalty to prevent the Foals from taking a deserved first-half lead.
"[The penalty save] was no coincidence," Hart told UEFA.com. "I'd been given plenty of information by our analysis department. They gave me information on all potential penalty takers before the game."
Hart was just as unabashed in his praise for André Schubert's Gladbach side, who eventually went in front nine minutes into the second half through midfielder Lars Stindl.
"They played really well tonight," said the England goalkeeper. "We had to work really hard. They caused us a lot of problems in the first half in particular, but we fought our way back into the match, hung in there as long as we could and managed to keep them at bay. After our equaliser we dominated the game."
Indeed, the scrambled City goal 11 minutes after Stindl's opener provided the spark the visitors needed to go on and win the match at Borussia-Park. Both Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling failed to test Yann Sommer from promising positions, before Sergio Agüero finally broke Gladbach hearts by sending the Swiss international the wrong way from the penalty spot in the 90th minute.
"We needed a bit of luck at the end to win the game," former Wolfsburg player De Bruyne admitted. "But after we scored our first goal we were simply the better team. We gradually gained more and more control of the game and put them under a lot of pressure, which eventually resulted in the penalty and the winning goal."
Manuel Pellegrini's charges now face potentially pivotal back-to-back games with Sevilla. The UEFA Europa League holders were beaten 2-0 by Juventus in matchday two's other Group D encounter, leaving them level on three points with City in second place. Hart, for one, is under no illusions as to the significance of his side's next two assignments.
"The two games against Sevilla are going to be really, really important," he said. "But we know Gladbach are going to be really competitive against Juventus - we expect them to get a result. We need to focus on ourselves, though, and two good results against Sevilla will put us in a good place."