Football: Victory over Tottenham Hotspur puts Manchester City on ...

6 days ago
Tottenham

Erling Haaland's double has put Manchester City within touching distance of an unprecedented fourth successive English Premier League title, as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 away.

The Norwegian tapped home his side's opener early in the second half and settled City's nerves in stoppage time, when he blasted home a penalty for his 27th league goal of the season.

City had failed to earn a point or score a goal in their first four league visits to Tottenham's new stadium, but ended that jinx in timely fashion to the joy of their supporters.

Pep Guardiola's City have 88 points to Arsenal's 86 and will become the first side to win four English titles in a row, if they beat West Ham United at home, while Arsenal must beat Everton and hope for the best.

Far from a vintage City performance, they were indebted to a couple of crucial saves by substitute keeper Stefan Ortega in the second half - one to deny Son Heung-min, shortly before Haaland's penalty made sure his side kept their destiny in their own hands.

"Today was incredible, the character," said City midfielder Rodri. "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."

The loss ends Tottenham's slim hopes of finishing fourth and qualifying for the Champions League, although it is a result apparently welcomed by some sections of their fans, who were loath to see their team avoid defeat and offer up a huge title gift to archrivals Arsenal.

Some Tottenham fans even indulged in the Poznan, which is a trademark of City's fans, while chants of "Are You Watching Arsenal" echoed around the stadium in the latter stages.

City are now unbeaten in 22 league games and have again showed they are the masters of pacing a title chase, relentlessly hunting down Arsenal, who have proved far more resilient than they did in last season's duel with City.

City's lethargic first-half display was strange, although the muted atmosphere in the stadium hardly helped the end-of-season feel.

Tottenham began brightly and gave City an early reminder they would not hand out any gifts, when Ederson, who was later forced off after a blow to the head, had to tip Rodrigo Bentancur's fierce rising drive over the crossbar.

With City stuck in second gear, their best chance before the interval came from a horrible sliced clearance by Spurs midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg that dropped for Phil Foden, but his volley was superbly saved by Guglielmo Vicario.

Such was the tepid nature of the first half that for the first time this season in the premier league, there was no stoppage time added at the end of the opening 45 minutes.

City might have begun to fear that their Tottenham curse would strike again, when Kevin De Bruyne's rasping shot was superbly saved by Vicario just after the interval, but they could finally breathe a sigh of relief soon afterwards.

De Bruyne was just onside as he was played in on the right side of the area and his low pass was tapped in by Haaland.

Still, City looked edgy and Ortega had to save a close-range effort by Dejan Kulusevski with his legs, but his best moment came later, as a mistake let in Son Heung-min.

As the South Korean bore down on goal, Arsenal's title hopes looked about to be resurrected, but Ortega made the save and Guardiola fell to the ground in relief.

When substitute Jeremy Doku was fouled in the area by Pedro Porro and Haaland rammed home his penalty, the away fans could finally relax, as a sixth title in seven years loomed large.

"We have to win one more game to win the title," Guardiola said. "Ortega saved us, otherwise Arsenal would be champions."

Reuters

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