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Manchester City 1 - Tottenham Hotspur 0

City of Manchester Stadium

10th May 2011 7.45pm

Attendance: 47069

Super City Hit The High Life

This was it...the game to catapult City in to the European Elite, something fans could only dream about a decade ago. How things change, favourites for tonight`s game and only needing to beat Spurs to launch the Champions League dream.

City owed spurs for last season`s loss and Mancini went for ....hart, richards, kompany, lescott, zabaleta, de jong, toure, johnson, silva milner and dzeko. So fan' favorite' the sublime defender kolarov left on the bench....huzzah.

This was an exciting line up and Mancini was certainly going for the win tonight.

The sound from the supporters was electric and City started well enough with the lions share of the ball in the opening few minutes.

Silva was on the receiving end of a few heavy tackles as the two teams skirmished early on.

On five minutes Richards burst through on an overlapping run but Dawson cut out the ensuing cross.

Spurs first corner came on seven minutes easily cleared by the Blues defence. The end to end nature of this game was becoming apparent as seconds later Toure was blasting wide of Cudicinis right post.

Ten minutes in and a Lescott ball over Spurs` right back found Silva who got to the by line and cut the ball back to Dzeko who shot cleanly but straight at the Spurs keeper.

City were playing with much more width as Richards overlapped Johnson. This in turn created more space for Silva and Milner to run into as the Spurs midfield looked stretched.

Seventeen minutes in and the first instance of poor refereeing, as Milner through on goal was brought down inside the Spurs box. Neither linesman or ref gave anything although the Spurs player came away with Milner`s ankles rather than the ball.

Seconds later City were attacking again and even when they lost the ball, the midfield closed down instantly.

Twenty minutes in and Spurs had another corner, again cleared by the Blues defence which looked much better in the air with Richard`s added height.

Five minutes later and the pace of the game was slowing. Possession stats weren't good...sixty/forty in Spurs favour but Hart hadn't had a save to make.

Spurs should have taken the lead on twenty eight minutes after Zabaleta lost possession and Kompany his footing but luckily Modric shot wide.

Within a minute City had gone ahead. A short corner found Milner who crossed the ball low and hard across the crowded six yard box. The ball hit Crouch`s outstretched foot and rebounded past Cudicini. One nil and game on.

Palacios was then withdrawn due to injury and replaced by Pienaar. City broke immediately after this and Silva found Dzeko in the Spurs box but once more the towering forward`s first touch let him down.

With ten minutes of the half to go and one up, the City machine began to purr. Toure had dropped into defensive mid, Milner out right and Johnson left with Silva dropping in just behind Dzeko.

Spurs players were dropping like flies as the third injury break of the first half took place with three minutes of the half left.

With a minute to go Spurs had another corner on the City right. Once more the in swinging ball was repulsed. Spurs were winning nothing in the air as Kompany, Lescott and Richards were imperious.

As the whistle blew for half time a few things had become apparent. Richards was making the defence look more solid in the air and was also looking good going forward. Mancini had changed the tactics mid-way through the first half rather than waiting till the eightieth minute and Dzeko didn't seem to have a first touch.

Spurs came out of the blocks at one hundred miles an hour as the second half kicked off and City had Hart to thank for a Gordon Banks-esque save which kept the score at one nil.

Richards was brought down on the Spurs right after one of his bulldozing runs. Nothing came of the resultant free kick but the City right back was looking something special.

City were looking good for their score but they seemed to be a man short as Johnson once more took the 'we're not really here` song too seriously.

On fifty five minutes crouch mistook Zabaletas face for the ball. The resultant injury forcing Zabaleta off. His replacement, oh dear, Kolarov.

Some of the decisions were getting ridiculous as ref and linesmen were doing their best to help Spurs....perhaps cataract removal might help them. Although the partial sight seemed reserved only to decisions against Spurs.

The London side were having the lions share of possession this half but Hart's super save aside, the city keeper had little to do.

Peter Crouch was treating the City centre halves like climbing walls each time a high ball was launched into the Blue`s penalty box.

The pressure was rising as Spurs got another corner on sixty three minutes but each time the ball was cleared it came back as City left no one up field.

Something had to change. Well the invisible man was changed not for Tevez who was warming up on the touch line. No, for Vieira as Mancini looked to shore up the midfield. The problem was not in midfield though as it was on the wings that Spurs were making headway.

Another Spurs injury on seventy minutes as Gallas went down under pressure from Dzeko after treatment though the ex-Chelsea player was able to continue.

Three minutes later and the game was stopped again for....you've guessed it a Spurs injury!

Seventy four minutes saw Richards find Milner with a ball over the top of the Spurs left back. With Toure running in unmarked Milner contrived to find the center half with his pull back rather than his team mate.

Minutes later Dzeko was almost through but the ball didn't drop for him early enough and his shot was scuffed.

Seventy eight minutes saw the introduction of Defoe on for Crouch. A point to note here that unpopular as the decision to bring on Vieira had been, he had done more in the ten minutes on the pitch than Johnson had in the previous seventy.

On eighty one minutes Mancini took off the diminutive Spaniard David Silva who looked exhausted having sweated blood for the City cause. His replacement bought the loudest cheer of the night as top scorer Carlos Tevez came on.

With five minutes injury time announced Spurs just couldn't break the Blues back line as Richards seemed to appear everywhere the ball was.

Two minutes left until the Champions League beckoned for City. The crowd cheered, Tevez chased and Spurs, well Spurs just weren't quite as good.

With seconds to go, Tevez nearly set up Vieira only for Gallas to clear the experienced midfielder`s shot off the line. This was Gallas's last touch as he was replaced by Kaboul.

As the crowd`s whistles became deafening, the ref took a last look at his watch and blew for full time. This is it, the big time. Champions League football for City and thoroughly deserved it is. Well done City and Roberto Mancini. Let`s go for third place in the league and the F.A. Cup to boot!

Star Player

David Silva

his diminutive wizard played his heart out tonight. He was at the center of every attack and threw himself into the tackle with the strength of ten men. Truly destined to be a City great. Bravo.

Player Ratings


Joe Hart - 8

No nerves from Joe tonight. His kicking and passing was impeccable and whilst not called on too many times, made a world class save down to his left reminiscent of Gordon Bank's against Pele.

Micah Richards - 8.5

Whether going forward to assist in attacks, defending set plays or attacking long balls and crosses, Richards was simply imperious tonight. Surely he should be first choice for England on a performance like this.

Vincent Kompany - 8

Strong in the tackle and rarely gave the ball away. Dealt well with the high number of crosses Spurs put into City's box.

Joleon Lescott - 8

This guy has become Mr Consistency. He wins everything in the air and has ironed out the mistakes that had crept into his game. Looking worth the money City paid for him.

Pablo Zabaleta 7.5

Got caught out by Lennon's pace once or twice but literally put his body on the line (and Crouch's boot) and ended up being substituted through injury. Did well supporting the left winger.

Nigel De Jong - 7

Broke up the Spurs play well and looked comfortable and assured on the ball. Wasn't his usual ferocious self probably with one eye on Saturday's big one.

Yaya Toure - 7

Started out supporting Dzeko and ended up in defensive midfield. Made some good runs and could have had a goal. Tired towards the end of the game.

Adam Johnson - 5.5

Once more the invisible man. He didn't see much of the ball and didn't do much when he was on it. Didn't drop back to defend as Milner did when not in possession.

James Milner - 8

Played defensive mid, right wing, left wing and central attacking mid and even full back for a short period. Is there anything he can't do? Played with intelligence and steel. A great asset to the squad.

David Silva - 9

This guy has my respect. One of the smallest players on the pitch and kicked week in week out but he plays with verve, intelligence, forsight and strength. Not scared to tackle and makes the team tick

Edin Dzeko - 6

Poor first touch and struggling to get to grips with the pace and physical nature of the Premier League. Showed glimpses of what he can do and will probably be much better next year.

Aleksander Kolarov - 7

Wasn't actually as bad as he usually is and only got skinned by Lennon once. Look good going forward and put in a couple of good blocks.

Carlos Tevez - 7.5

Harried and chased, chased and harried. Looked a bit overweight but still quick and fit. Could have had a goal made the Spurs players quake in their boots.

Patrick Vieira - 7.5

Elegant on the ball and tough in the tackle. Did exactly what was asked of him when he came on as sub and added a wealth of experience to the midfield.

Manager Rating

Roberto Mancini - 8

icked the right team to play Spurs and changed things early. Champions League in his first full season at the club has to be given a big pat on the back. F.A. Cup on Saturday and I will personally cook him dinner.

Opponent Rating

Harry Redknapp -6

oaning, mind-games and some very good players, but they seem to have gone backwards this year as City have improved. Not my favourite Manager.




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The journalist

Writer: Redmond6 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday May 10 2011

Time: 11:30PM

Your Comments

Bluerichy , I think you're right about Dzeko, I think he needs a partner to play off and lacks that ability to control the hard hit pass first time every time. Silva excellent player but gets disheartened if when he goes forward he looks round and everyone is still in their own half. City will perform better if they play foward and not backwards as they have teneded to do when leading a match. Mr Dean if you read this, to play the advantage after a foul the team has to have some adavantage on the play not be merely in possession of the ball. The example was that Johnson fouled in front of the Spurs goal and ball goes to Yaya, but is surrounded by Spurs defenders and is on his own, definately advantage Spurs but not City.
buzz lightyear
How sweet it is.
johnkelv
We've definitely deserved Champions League football over the course of the season. Maybe Droopy is right, now that we're there, maybe some of our signings this summer really will blow evero=yone away.
fifthcolumnblue
Good read Richy and I agree Silva is a wizaed but on this occassion I went for Micah, I think he had the best game he has had all year 100% commitment.
Doody
Congratulations and well done, City. I remember all the class City fans coming over to do the same last season and I'd like to return the compliment. Hope you do well in Europe next year. Now excuse me while I return to midtable...
DubaiSpur
Congrats you deserved CL this season, we have totally run out of steam for some reason. Some points though - I personally thought Modric was better than Silva tonight, De Jong couldnt get near him and he effortlessly controlled the game. As for Micah its a shame Bale wasn't fit enough to torment him again. And incredibly Peter Crouch despite being an embarrassment to sport, somehow is better than Dzeko!?! Could he be? Ok probably not, but he is AWFUL! But over the season you have deserved it, you're strikers have made the difference, namely Tevez. Hopefully while balancing both competitions next season you will let us & Liverpool back in with a great shot at the big time again! Will cheer you on in Europe. COYS
HuddersfieldYiddo
congratulations guys... hope you enjoy the champions league as much as i did this season. All the best
Yid_from_India
Spurs fan here. Well done lads. Thought Micah was suberb. Easy on the Hart - Banks comparison though! Hope you can push on and nick 3rd! Good luck in the cup and next year in CL. I've asked this before but got no reponse, any chance you'll sell Given to us! Cheers.
thenuge
Thanks to all the Spurs fans for the congratulations. As for Given 'nuge' - i'm sure all City fans hope that he stays at COMS
Thaibluefan
I guess Given to Spurs will be decided by whoever your new manager is nuge - after all, the new guy might not want Given.
fifthcolumnblue
congratulations city, very close freind of mine is a massive city fan and as he says and he's right! youve put up with more ***** than most football fans you bloody deserve it! well done now go fourth and wipe the smugness from that red nossed spurs player robbing hypochritical CU*T lol
spurticus87
Seamus is destined for Arsenal or Spurs.
Johnny Baguette
Congratulations to Citeh. Deserved 4th place (probably). Spurs had their highlights in the Champions League, and have just about realised the effect that competition has on a season. Next season will be very interesting with you in the CL strengthening your squad, Arsenal buying a packet of crisps, and Chelsea trying to find a real striker. Depends how many strikers Citeh buy this summer. About 4 in the average in the last few years :-)
RafaTheGaffer
 

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