Manchester: Manchester City got its revenge for being bundled out of the Champions League by Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a goal by English midfielder Phil Foden which gave the defending champions a 1-0 win in the Premier League on Saturday, April 20.
City thus took a big step toward securing the Premier League title, having prevailed over a complicated opponent who became even more challenging after the Manchester side had been knocked out of the Champions by Spurs on Wednesday at the same venue: the Etihad Stadium, reports Efe news.
Although City won 4-3, it was not enough for it to book a place in the semi-final because of the away goal rule over two legs.
City’s Spanish coach Pep Guardiola made changes in his starting lineup and gave playing minutes to youngster Foden, as well as John Stones and Oleksandr Zinchenko in defence.
With the madness of the second leg of the Champions League in mind, Tottenham had a more defensive approach, as coach Mauricio Pochettino inserted a five-man defence line; with Davinson Sanchez, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen as central defenders.
Pochettino sought to avoid Wednesday’s scenario when his team conceded a goal in the opening four minutes, but on Saturday it resisted for five minutes before Foden found the back of the net, making the most of a cross by Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva that Argentina forward Sergio Aguero set up for the Englishman.
Tottenham sought the equalizer and it had its chances on the counter-attack, but South Korea forward Heung-min Son and Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen were unable to deliver.
At the other end of the field, City remained cool-headed, knowing that Tottenham would take risks to achieve a positive result that would enhance their chances of claiming a Champions League berth in the upcoming season.
During the dying minutes of the first half, Son had a one-on-one situation against City’s goalkeeper Ederson, but he failed to get past Brazil’s keeper.
However, City had bad news as Belgium midfielder Kevin de Bruyne was forced to leave the field with a muscle injury and was replaced by Fernandinho, who gave the team midfield stability.
After the halftime break, City seized control of the midfield, eliminating Tottenham’s threat on the counter-attack, but the home side lacked the attacking edge until Germany attacking midfielder Leroy Sane took to the field.
Sane set up England forward Raheem Sterling for what could have been City’s second goal, but he failed to get past Argentina goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga.
Ederson, for his part, saved a one-on-one situation by Lucas Moura to maintain City’s lead till the end of the game.
After the win, City temporarily overtakes Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table with a one-point lead ahead of the Reds, who will take on Cardiff City on Sunday.