MAN CITY 2, TOTTENHAM 1
Edin Dzeko enhanced his status as Manchester City’s super-sub as he came off the bench to score a late winner against Tottenham.
It looked as though Tottenham would leave with a point until the Bosnian striker struck in the 88th minute to preserve City’s unbeaten record in the Barclays Premier League.
Remarkably six of Dzeko’s seven goals for the campaign have come as a substitute as he has become a lethal weapon with his cameos.
It was another far from convincing City display on the day they created a club record by extending their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 17 matches.
They once again had to come from behind equalising midway through the second period through Sergio Aguerro before Dzeko conjured the matchwinner.
City enjoyed plenty of possession, but are still lacking the spark which delivered a first Premier League title last May.
City first-team coach David Platt, standing in for Roberto Mancini who left immediately after the game for Italy, praised Dzeko’s contribution.
He explained: “We have a lot of players who would play in any other Premier League team. “We can only pick 11 players and Edin is one of those who can start or can come off the bench when we need height, a goal threat and somebody who is fresh once 60/65 minutes have been played.
“He has got some heavy goals and is a valued member of the squad.”
And referring to the super-sub label which Dzeko evidenty loathes, Platt added that in the past have done a similar job.
After an uneventful opening, Tottenham took a 21st minute lead with the first chance of the match for either side.
Steven Caulker’s header from Tom Huddlestone’s free kick was only helped into the net by keeper Joe Hart who got a strong handed to the ball and will be bitterly disappointed not to have kept it out.
Huddlestone might have added a second goal not long after as his drive flashed past the upright. City had a number of goal attempts in the opening period without seriously troubling keeper Brad Friedel.
They were unlucky to finish the opening period behind, though, as they were denied two stone-wall penalties.
First there was a clear handball by William Gallas as Sergio Aguerro attempted to flick the ball past him. That was followed by Pablo Zabaleta being body checked by Huddlestone as he burst in the penalty area.
It was a similarly frustrating opening to the second period with the City fans becoming increasingly frustrated.
Then out of nothing came City’s equaliser midway through the half as Yaya Toure released Aguero who cut in from the right of the penalty area before slotting home a low shot into the far corner for his fourth goal of the season.
Hart redeemed himself for his earlier error with a terrific save to deny Gareth Bale who wriggled through the City defence.
The latter stages saw City in the ascendancy as they laid siege to the visitors’ goal.
Dzeko headed narrowly wide, David Silva’s shot flew past the upright and Aguero’s drive was well blocked by the legs of Friedel.
The pressure eventually paid off at Tottenham’s defence cracked in the 88th minute. Silva released Dzeko who ran on to his through ball before lofting a shot which looped over Friedlel into the roof of the net.