Manchester City’s title hopes have been shattered after three goals in seven second half minutes gave Tottenham Hotspur a 3-1 win victory at White Hart Lane.
Samir Nasri fired City in front after five minutes, but Clint Dempsey’s 75th tap-in started a Spurs onslaught that ended up with Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe scoring in the 79th and 82nd minute to give the home side a huge win.
City’s loss means Manchester United can confirm their status as Premier League champions tomorrow evening if they beat Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
Tottenham came into the game knowing a win was vital in their quest for UEFA Champions League football but they were dealt a blow when an ex-Arsenal man put City in front within five minutes. Carlos Tevez’s driving run allowed James Milner the space on the right wing to fire in a low cross, and Nasri, who spent three years at the Gunners, was in the right place to slide past Hugo Lloris and into the bottom corner.
City had Joe Hart to thank for not relinquishing their lead in the 22nd minute. Dempsey controlled superbly and played in the quick run of Kyle Walker, but Hart was out quickly to smother the ball at the right-back’s feet.
It should have been 2-0 to City just after, but this time, Nasri failed to hit the target from ten yards. Tevez’s good work allowed the Frenchman to spin past Michael Dawson, but he lacked the composure to score as he poked wide.
With five minutes to go until half-time, Lloris kept his side in the game with a top-drawer save to deny Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian raced through on goal from Tevez’s pass, but Lloris used his legs to block the left-footed shot from 18 yards.
In the second half, chances were at a premium, but Spurs managed to turn the game around following Dempsey’s equaliser. Bale’s brilliant low cross with the outside of his boot fell to the back post where the American was sliding in to score. It took Spurs all of four minutes to grab a 2-1 lead.
Defoe had failed to score so far during 2013, but managed to grab his 15th goal of the season with a superb strike. He spun of Vincent Kompany and rifled the ball past the despairing Hart from 20 yards and it took a hit of the far post on its way into the net. White Hart Lane was rocking and it only got better in the 82nd minute.
Bale returned from injury to play an influential part today, and he got the goal his performance deserved to kill off the game. Tom Huddlestone’s measured pass allowed the Welshman to drift inside and dink the ball over the on-rushing Hart to the delight of the home faithful.
The disappointing collapse by City could be the final nail in the coffin of their quest to retain the Premier League title, as Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils can win the league with a victory over Villa at the Theatre of Dreams.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)