Manchester clubs sink London rivals to move clear at summit
updated 2:07 PM EST, Sun January 22, 2012
Manchester City's Mario Balotelli celebrates his winning penalty soon after he appeared to kick out at an opponent.
- Mario Balotelli's late penalty hands Manchester City a 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur
- Italian appeared to aim a stamp at opponent's head before he scored the winning goal
- Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates to keep pace with title rivals
- City remain three points ahead of United as both Manchester clubs move clear of third
(CNN) -- An injury time penalty from Mario Balotelli secured a dramatic 3-2 win for Manchester City as they staved off a brave fight back from Tottenham to maintain their three point lead at the top of the English Premier League.
City's main title rivals, Manchester United, also negotiated a difficult test at Arsenal by winning 2-1 to remain on the coat tails of their big-spending neighbors.
Victories for both Manchester clubs saw them pull clear from third-placed Tottenham -- City are now eight points ahead of them, and United five -- with the race for the championship now seeming like a two-horse race.
Italy striker Balotelli was involved in another contentious incident in the match as he appeared to aim a stamp at Scott Parker's head, a flashpoint that angered Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp.
"What reason did he have to kick Scott in the head with his studs while he is lying on the floor? It's not a nice thing to do and it has no place in football," Redknapp told a press conference.
"It's not the first time he's done that is it? I'm sure it won't be the last. I'm the last person to talk about getting people sent off, but it's blatantly obvious if you see that, he reacts like that at times to challenges."
What reason did he (Balotelli) have to kick Scott Parker in the head with his studs while he is lying on the floor?
Harry Redknapp, Tottenham manager
Prior to Balotelli's late spot kick the game burst to life in nine second half minutes. First, Samir Nasri's emphatic finish from Silva's pass on 56 minutes gave City the lead before Joleon Lescott bundled a corner into the net three minutes later.
But City let the visitors back into the game within a minute as centre back Stefan Savic failed to deal with a long ball and Jermain Defoe took the ball round City goalkeeper Joe Hart to finish into an empty net.
And five minutes later, Tottenham were level as Gareth Bale struck a superb equalizer from the edge of the penalty area after Aaron Lennon's pass.
Defoe had a chance to win the game for Tottenham in injury time but though he stretched to connect with Bale's cross he could only poke the ball wide of the target from four yards out.
And Tottenham were made to pay for that miss as Ledley King brought down Balotelli in the final minute of added on time and the Italian made no mistake from 12 yards.
Manchester United took the lead at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in north London when Antonio Valencia headed home Ryan Giggs' cross on the stroke of half time.
Arsenal's Dutch captain Robin van Persie, who had already squandered a great chance to bring his side level, found the net on 71 minutes with an angled drive from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's pass.
Teenage winger Oxlade-Chamberlain was substituted straight after the equalizer, drawing boos from the home support.
And his replacement, Russian Andrei Arshavin, failed to close down Valencia as he got into the area late in the game to tee up England striker Danny Welbeck for the winner.
Part of complete coverage on
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
When Germany's two biggest soccer clubs go head-to-head in the Champions League final, there can only be one winner: German industry.
updated 9:56 AM EDT, Wed May 22, 2013
The Bundesliga model of sustainability is very much in vogue. But are Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund creating a dangerous duopoly?
updated 7:06 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
Bayern Munich super fan Boris Becker takes a tour of London ahead of the 2013 Champions League final.
updated 6:15 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
CNN takes an exclusive look at the venue of the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
CNN's Pedro Pinto gives his analysis of the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
updated 1:10 PM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
David Beckham embraced his tag as a "gay icon" and has been credited with breaking the big taboo -- homosexuality in football.
updated 3:50 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
'King' Alex Ferguson is quitting Manchester United but the $3.17 billion brand will survive, according to experts.
updated 10:18 AM EDT, Tue May 7, 2013
Italian football lags behind its other European rivals commercially, but newly-crowned Italian champions Juventus is showing Serie A clubs an example of revival.
updated 10:34 AM EDT, Wed April 24, 2013
Luis Suarez's biting of Branislav Ivanovic is the latest episode of moments of madness when soccer stars behave badly.
updated 5:38 AM EDT, Fri March 29, 2013
Sunderland's partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation is part of its bid to woo the African market.
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Thu March 28, 2013
Each year as many as 700 Cameroonian young footballers leave Africa in search of a professional career abroad.
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Mon May 6, 2013
Referees across Europe are feeling the heat. Insulted, threatened, chased off the field, attacked, hospitalized and, tragically, killed.
updated 7:25 AM EST, Tue February 26, 2013
Footballers have a battery of physios, fitness trainers and doctors all striving to fine-tune their physique -- but are they missing a trick?
updated 9:24 AM EST, Tue February 26, 2013
No Englishman has won the EPL title in over 20 years, while a leading manager reveals that English coaches are now "not respected abroad."
updated 5:33 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
Hardcore Italian football "ultra" Federico is a Lazio supporter who happily admits directing monkey chants at black players.
updated 6:23 AM EST, Tue March 5, 2013
When Jupp Heynckes made his Bundesliga debut as a player in 1965, the name of Bayern Munich was a new one for the nascent German league.
updated 2:02 PM EST, Tue February 19, 2013
Football's world governing body FIFA has confirmed it will use goal-line technology at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
updated 9:03 AM EST, Tue February 19, 2013
Match-fixing has become a worldwide issue, with hundreds of matches under investigation -- but how do you actually fix a football game?
updated 12:00 PM EST, Mon February 18, 2013
U.S soccer star Robbie Rogers has "come out" as gay on the day he retired from the game, making the announcement on his blog.
updated 5:31 PM EST, Mon February 11, 2013
The wealth of owners like Chelsea's Roman Abramovich often fuels success, but for other clubs such backers prove a mixed blessing.
updated 8:42 AM EST, Wed January 30, 2013
The Secret Footballer reveals the complex issues surrounding racism in the English Premier League.