Match Report

Tottenham 2-1 Manchester City

Tottenham:  Gomez; Corluka, Woodgate, King, Assou-Ekotto; Jenas (Zokora, 65), Huddlestone, Modric; Pavlyuchenko (Campbell, 74), Keane, Defoe.

Unused subs: Cudicini, Hutton, Bale, Bentley, Chimbonda.

City: Given; Richards, Onuoha, Dunne, Bridge; Kompany, De Jong; Elano (Zabaleta, 30), Ireland, Petrov (Bojinov, 60); Caicedo (Benjani, 60).

Unused subs: Hart, Fernandes, Sturridge, Berti.
 

Goals: 1-0 Defoe (28), 1-1 Bojinov (64), 2-1 Keane (pen, 85).

Bookings:

Tottenham:

City: Zabaleta (33).

Referee:  Mark Halsey.

Tottenham were just as keen to grab three points as City, and they were in the form to finish their home season with a flourish - Spurs had won their last five at White Hart Lane and not conceded for nine and a half hours.

Against that, the Blues - with a vociferous following for this vital game - had ended their awayday hoodoo at Everton prior to last season's reverse in the derby and were fired up for a do-or-die effort.

Tottenham took the lead after 28 minutes when Tom Huddlestone crossed and Jermain Defoe swooped in front of defender Richard Dunne to steer the ball paast Shay Given.

It was a body blow to City's hopes of a Europa League place and there was a further setback when Elano came off to be replaced by Pablo Zabaleta. The Brazilian indicated that he had been poked in the eye.

Petrov, so anxious to make an impression, managed one shot but it was Tottenham who looked the part in the north London sun, with some crisp passing moves and the threat of a second goal before half time.

The crowd raised a huge cheer when Nedum Onuoha challenged Defoe and, as the Spurs striker got up, he caught linesman Trevor Massey with his boot and left the poor official on the deck and needing first-aid treatment!

Mark Hughes looked like an anxious man as the half-time whistle sounded. City had not been able to stamp their authority on the game, and without Robinho, Elano and Shaun Wright-Phillips had offered no real threat to test Heurelho Gomes in the Spurs goal.

Fourth official Stuart Attwell, famed for awarding Watford a goal that wasn't, took over the flagging duties from his presumably injured colleague when the second half resumed.

City were more of an attacking force after the break, but when Zabaleta - booked only minutes after he had come off the bench - swung in a dangerous cross, Caicedo was unable to get there in time.

Manager Hughes decided the time had come for change on the hour, sending on both Benjani and Valeri Bojinov. Benji replaced the below-par Caicedo while Boji took over from fellow Bulgarian Petrov.

City forced a corner almost immediately but after Micah Richards, having a decent game, put Gomes off with a good challenge, the ball fell for Dunne and the skipper sent his shot well over the angle.

But City were level after 64 minutes, courtesy the Boji and Benji show. The former Pompey striker headed the ball down and Bojinov looped a great left-footer into the top corner to give Gomes no chance - Spurs' first lost goal at home in more than ten hours.

News from elsewhere was not good - Fulham were leading at Newcastle - but the Blues were making a real fist of it after their lacklustre first half and Spurs fans were rattled, even if their players weren't.

Vincent Kompany sent in a great near-post cross after 72 minutes that saw Benjani launch himself for a diving header that hit a defender, though it look to be going wide.

Roman Pavlyuchenko had a great chance at the other end but fired well wide of Given's goal as the game heated up, and a couple of minutes later the Russian was hooked in favour of Fraizer Campbell. 

It was Campbell who swung the game Tottenham's way when he went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Richards for Defoe's cross and referee Halsey gave the penalty despite some protests. Robbie Keane sent Given the wrong way from the spot to put City 2-1 behind in the 86th minute.

Benjani flashed a header over as the match went into time added on, but time was being called on the Blues' bold bid to pip Fulham to seventh place and that Europa Cup spot.

Peter Ferguson



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