Erling Haaland’s second half brace saw City secure a priceless 2-0 victory at Spurs – and moved Pep Guardiola’s side back to the top of the Premier League table and within one win of an historic fourth straight title.

It marked City’s first-ever league victory – and goals – at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with both arriving on the most auspicious of occasions.

It was a tense, eventful night with City also having to bring substitute ‘keeper Stefan Ortega Moreno on for Ederson midway through the second half after the Brazilian hurt his head in a collision with Cristian Romero.

And the German made his impact immediately felt with a series of quite outstanding saves - including one stunning block to deny Son Heung-Min - to keep the hosts out.

But City found a way to navigate what was our eighth successive league win with Haaland opening the scoring with a close range 52nd minute opener and then sealing victory with a 90th minute penalty which extended our Club record unbeaten run across all competitions to 34 games.

Far more importantly, the triumph sent City two points clear of Arsenal and means if we beat West Ham on Sunday we will secure a fourth successive league title – something no English side has ever achieved before.

What happened

A Tuesday night assignment in North London marked a second successive trip to the capital for City inside three days following last Saturday’s 4-0 win at Fulham.

And the stakes were deliciously high for both sides.

ACTION STATIONS: Bernardo and Rodrigo in the thick of things.
ACTION STATIONS: Bernardo and Rodrigo in the thick of things.

While City were seeking an eighth Premier League win to take us to within three points of the title, Spurs knew victory would keep their hopes of a top-four finish – and a place in next season’s Champions League – alive and kicking.

It meant the intensity and tension was apparent from the get-go and any fanciful outside suggestions that Spurs would somehow not be 100 per cent committed with Arsenal also in the title chase were immediately put to bed.

Indeed, it was the hosts who created the first meaningful opening on six minutes.

A long searching ball by Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg created space for Spurs on their right flank and a quick inside ball from Brennan Johnson found the waiting Rodrigo Bentancur centrally placed on the D of the box.

The midfielder let fly from 18 yards and it needed a smart save from Ederson – on what was his 250th league appearance for City – to save the day.

City though soon looked to respond in kind and on 16 minutes it took a vital block from Spurs ‘keeper Guglielmo Vicario to deny Phil Foden from eight yards.

FORWARD MARCH: Erling Haaland powers on for City.
FORWARD MARCH: Erling Haaland powers on for City.

Hojbjerg had made an absolute hash of an attempted clearance, succeeding only in slicing the ball into Foden’s path who let fly only for Vicario to make a stunning stop with his outstretched arm.

At the other end, Ederson needed to be alert once again just past the half hour to deny Johnson after the Spurs man had cut inside from the right flank.

City’s man of the moment Josko Gvardiol then almost added to his remarkable recent goal tally of five in seven games on 39 minutes, the left back ghosting in behind the Spurs back line and latching onto Bernardo Silva’s delicious ball only to send his effort just wide.

With so much at stake, City however were still to really click through the gears with the game and occasion crying out for a touch of magic after what was an increasingly tense first 45 minutes.

And it almost arrived 60 seconds after the restart from Kevin De Bruyne.

A Spurs attempt to play out from the back backfired spectacularly and Manu Akanji found the waiting KDB in the centre of the box who swivelled before unleashing a crackerjack of a shot which Vicario superbly parried away.

Ederson though almost immediately had to be alert again to deny Son Heung-Min from close range as the South Korean sought to flick the ball in after another Spurs raid down their right flank bore fruit.

GET IN: Erling Haaland makes the crucial breakthrough.
GET IN: Erling Haaland makes the crucial breakthrough.

One felt though that City had upped the ante and that crucial breakthrough duly arrived on 52 minutes through that man Erling Haaland.

Foden was the initial creator, bursting down the left flank after Romero had lost possession before arcing in a superb ball, which found Bernardo lurking at the back of the box.

He then found the advancing Kevin De Bruyne who timed his run to byline to perfection and, it was no surprise to see KDB pick out the advancing Haaland who gratefully gobbled up his 26th – and most precious goal – of the season from three yards out.

What a time and occasion to register our first league goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

There was then drama and concern at the other end of the field after Ederson felt the full force of Romero challenge after the Argentine’s hip met the City keeper’s head as he sought to meet a Kulusevski ball.

After lengthy treatment the Brazilian was initially cleared to continue but very quickly Stefan Ortega was summoned from the bench to come on for Ederson for the fourth time this season in the league.

CELBRATION TIME: For Erling Haaland and City.
CELBRATION TIME: For Erling Haaland and City.

The German keeper then made a stunning instant impact narrowing his angle and performing heroics to block Kulusevski’s goalbound shot.

Ortega Moreno repeated the feat minutes later to deny the Spurs sub again as the tension ratcheted up another notch.

And with five minutes left, Ortega Moreno made arguably the save of the season as he rushed out of his box and kept out a Son shot after the Spurs man had been put through clear on goal.

The importance of that save was then put into sharp focus as City doubled our lead a minute into injury time thanks to a penalty from that man Haaland.

Substitute Jeremy Doku was brought down by Porro and Haaland made no mistake from the spark to spark scenes of unbridled joy amongst the City players and travelling support.

Teams

TOTTENHAM XI: Vicario, Porro, Romero, Dragusin, Van de Ven, Sarr, Bentancur (Kulusevski 55), Hojberg, Johnson, Son, Maddison

Subs: Austin, Skipp, Gil, Royal, Lo Celso, Scarlett, Moore, Hall

CITY XI: Ederson (Ortega Moreno 69), Walker (C), Akanji, Dias, Gvardiol, Rodrigo, Kovacic, De Bruyne (Doku 69), Bernardo, Foden, Haaland

Subs: Stones, Ake, Grealish, Alvarez, Nunes, Bobb, Lewis

WATCHING BRIEF: Pep Guardiola looks on.
WATCHING BRIEF: Pep Guardiola looks on.

GAME CHANGER

He was only on the pitch for less than half an hour but substitute keeper Stefan Ortega Moreno deserves huge plaudits for a series of crucial outstanding  saves after coming on to replace the injured Ederson.

Two point blank saves to deny Kulusevski were good enough but his block to deny Son Heung-Min at 1-0 with just five minutes left was even better.

What an impact.

Stat zone

Kevin De Bruyne’s 112th Premier League assists saw him move second on the all-time list of assist makers with only Ryan Giggs now ahead of the Belgian.

Furthermore, it was KDB’s 10th assist of the season – an incredible feat considering he was sidelined for five months – and marked the sixth season that De Bruyne has registered 10 or more Premier League assists.

Remarkable figures, remarkable player.

UP AND AT 'EM: Bernardo Silva powers on.
UP AND AT 'EM: Bernardo Silva powers on.

Pep Guardiola’s reaction

“It was so difficult a game. We knew it. They play with a lot of pride and intensity and it’s so difficult to play against them.

“Spurs will in the future be unbelievable if they stick with the manager. We gave the chance in our hands for the last game. The tennis players say ‘the serve to win Wimbledon’, the last game, is the most difficult one.

“It happened in our period against Aston Villa. And many many years ago it happened with Sergio Aguero [scoring] in 93 minutes 20 seconds against QPR. So there will be the typical game.

“We know what we’re playing for. The tension is there, the rival is so good. It’s why it is difficult, we know that. Everyone come to the stadium and make noise. These games are more difficult but you have to do it. We’ll have one day off, two days to prepare, and then we will do our best.”

RODRIGO’S reaction 

“Today was incredible, the character. We know it wasn’t the best game but we must talk about the substitutions.

“Stefan Ortega was simply incredible and we have the best goalkeeper in the world.

“We know it’s not done yet. We need the people behind us.

“We have the experience of Aston Villa [in 2021] so we know it’s not done.

“We know it’s going to be tough but with our people and crowd, we need their support because we need the last effort.

“If we do it we can change the history.”

What it means

Victory moves City back to the top of the Premier League above Arsenal.

With just one game of a titanic battle for league supremacy now remaining, City are two points ahead of the Gunners with Pep Guardiola’s side having accumulated 88 points.

KEY MAN: Stefan Ortega Moreno.
KEY MAN: Stefan Ortega Moreno.

Having recorded eight league wins in a row, one more victory this weekend would be enough to secure an unprecedented fourth straight men’s title, a sixth Premier League title in seven years and a 10th league crown overall.

Everything to play for then!

What’s next

City round off the 2023/23 Premier League campaign on Sunday when we play host to West Ham, knowing victory would secure a unique fourth successive Premier League crown.Kick-off at the Etihad is set for 16.00pm with history beckoning!

Premier League
1 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 38 28 7 3 96 34 62 91 WWWWW
2 Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal 38 28 5 5 91 29 62 89 WWWWW
3 Liverpool FC Liverpool Liverpool 38 24 10 4 86 41 45 82 LDWDW
Last updated: 23 May 2024

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