TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3, MANCHESTER CITY 1
A fifth minute goal by Samir Nasri – his sixth in six games against Spurs – gave Manchester City the lead at Tottenham, but Spurs hit back with three late goals in seven second half minutes to boost their Champions League hopes and present Manchester United with the chance to clinch the Barclays Premier League title against Aston Villa on Monday.
City manager Roberto Mancini tried to be philosophical about the defeat but couldn’t offer an explanation of how the game turned so quickly.
“I can’t believe we lost this game. We had everything under control for 80 minutes.
“This is football and if you don’t score when you have a chance this can happen.
“Their last goal was a counter attack but the first two were incredible!”
Former City striker Emmanuel Adebayor tried to stoke up the pre-match tension with a criticism of City’s squad when they are put under pressure but despite the ultra attacking start that Spurs made their defence let them down and City profited with the opening goal.
Carlos Tevez, the source of City’s main attacking threat, switched the ball to James Milner who crossed for Nasri to put City up early. City spurned first half chances to extend their lead with Edin Dzeko, in for the injured Sergio Aguero, as ineffective as Adebayor.
Despite the early goal the game remained a measured affair in City’s favour and Spurs didn’t look like making headway for long periods until Andre Villas-Boas rang some vital second half changes which dramatically turned the tide of the game which had been drifting.
Spurs tightened up in the second half after the introduction of Tom Huddlestone while Clint Dempsey had two penalty appeals turned down but got his reward for his hard work in the second half. Gareth Bale switched to the left wing and drove in a cross which the in-form USA striker finished with 15 minutes to go.
Spurs immediately took the lead through another substitute, Jermain Defoe, on the 78th minute as City prepared a substitution. Defoe stepped inside from the left flank, avoiding City captain Vincent Kompany, and struck a thunderbolt past Hart.
Gareth Bale, who had been quiet for most of the game, then took possession of a pass from Tom Huddlestone, held off Gael Clichy and chipped a quickfire third over Hart to put Spurs 3-1 up with 8 minutes to go.