Mark Halsey Scores For Tottenham
White Heart Lane
Saturday 16th May 2009, 3pm
On a day when United lifted the Premier League trophy once again, City were looking to beat Tottenham in a bid to play in the Europa League next season.
Tottenham started the game strongly and were deservedly ahead after Dunne failed to mark Defoe who got on the end of a Tom Huddlestone cross to finish at close range.
Spurs should have been winning comfortably by half time but City keeper Shay Given kept them in the match with a string of fine saves.
City equalised in the second half with a fantastic effort from substitute Valeri Bojinov before Mark Halsey single handedly gave the game to Harry Redknapp's side after awarding a rediculous penalty, the ball already in Shay Given's hands before on-loan Fraiser Campbell went to ground under Richards' challenge.
Robbie Keane stepped up to send Given the wrong way and give Tottenham every chance of qualifying for Europe.
With no Lennon or Palacios, it was the job of Modric and Huddlestone to provide the creative flair and the muscle in midfield.
Modric started the game excellently with some well placed passes and almost set up the first goal, playing in Defoe who found the back of the net but was a yard or so offside.
This set the tempo as Tottenham looked to build on their dominance, Defoe firing a low shot towards the bottom corner with Shay Given pushing the ball wide of the post.
After fifteen minutes Russian striker Roman Pavlychenko almost got on the score sheet, again Given denying Tottenham as he got down well to push the ball away.
Tottenham were well on top by this stage and just five minutes later Given pulled off another excellent stop to clear the ball off the line from a Ledley King shot following a corner.
Manchester City's first effort on goal came the way of Bulgarian Martin Petrov who replaced the injured Robinho on the left-wing although his tame shot was gathered easily by Gomes.
City looked to be seeing a bit more of the ball but just before the half-hour mark Spurs took the lead.
Tom Huddlestone produced some neat work on the edge of the box and hit a beautifully flighted ball into the box which Defoe latched onto, sending the ball past Given for the opener from point-blank range.
Richard Dunne was caught ball watching and it was him who let the diminutive striker past him for the goal.
Just before half-time Defoe was in the midst of it again, this time knocking over the linesman who stayed down with a leg injury.
Half-time: Tottenham 1 Manchester City 0
Manchester City started the second-half in a similar fashion to last weeks Derby, a lot of possession but no real conviction.
With Caicedo isolated upfront and little connection between City's holding midfielders and attacking midfielders, Tottenham were content to sit back and wait for City to make mistakes.
Mark Hughes' side almost got the breakthrough however, Stephen Ireland found the largely dormant Caicedo down the left wing.
The Equadorian attempted a chip into the far corner but instead he sent his shot into the Tottenham keepers gloves.
Hughes brought on Benjani and Bojinov for the ineffective Caicedo and Petrov as he looked to breathe some life into his flat City side.
The substitutions were inspired as a mere five minutes later, Bojinov had found the back of the net and City were right back in the mix for seventh place.
Ireland crossed the ball in and found substitute Benjani who nodded the ball down for Bojinov, the Bulgarian scored a stunningly controlled volley past Gomes, his first goal of the season!
Tottenham reacted well, Pavlychenko shooting wide when he really should have done better.
The Russian then missed another good opportunity, losing the unimpressive Wayne Bridge before shooting wide again.
Redknapp immediately substituted him for Fraiser Campbell, Pavlychenko storming down the tunnel in disapproval.
Both teams pressed for a goal, City having the better of the play as the clock wound on to eighty minutes.
On eighty-four minutes, Mark Halsey scored for Tottenham.
The referee ajudged that Richards brought down on-loan striker Campbell when there was clearly no chance he would have ever reached the ball, Given already holding it by the time he hit the floor.
It was a rediculous decision to make in such an important match and totally flipped the game on its head, ending City's European ambitions in the process.
Robbie Keane stepped up to send international team mate Shay Given the wrong way as he scored from the spot.
City pushed for a way back into the game but even with a draw they couldn't have caught seventh placed Fulham who beat Newcastle.
It was a disappointing ending to a difficult season and beating Bolton at home will be of little consolation as fans go empty-handed for another season, some would say they were robbed.
Full-time: Tottenham 2 Manchester City 1
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It is a rather sour ending to a mixed season of highs and lows but City fans have everything to look forward to next season as we look to improve on our ever improving squad.
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