Thursday, May 6, 2010

Header from Peter Crouch booked their place in next season's Champions League with a 1-0 win at Manchester City


- Crouch 82

**The North London club, so often overshadowed by rivals Arsenal, booked their place in next season's Champions League with a 1-0 win at Manchester City to lock up fourth place in the Premier League. An 82nd minute header from Peter Crouch wrapped up Spurs' Champions League place and left City to ponder their future.

Spurs were close to a spot in Europe's premier competition four years ago, but a dubious case of food poisoning on the last weekend of the season forced several players to the sideline and kept them out of the tournament when they lost on the last day of the year and Arsenal leap-frogged them. Those demons were finally exorcised as Spurs continued their strong run of form against Manchester City - their 11th win in 12 matches with City.

While City is the richest club in the world, entry into the Champions League was seen as a requirement for them to compete for the top talent in the world, nevermind hanging on to the likes of Carlos Tevez. Now the blue half of Manchester will have to settle on the Europa League while Tottenham enter into the qualifying round of the Champions League. They can jump into an automatic qualification spot if Arsenal lose Saturday to Fulham and Spurs beat Burnley in the final weekend of the Premier League season.

City started brightly, with Tevez forcing a string of saves from Heurelho Gomes. Eventually Spurs would take control of the match, and a 1-0 scoreline didn't do their performance justice. Crouch hit the post in the 18th minute, and two minutes later, Ledley King had a goal disallowed for an iffy foul in the box. City had another string of chances late in the half, but Gomes was again on spot to keep Spurs level.

Spurs eventually found more firm footing in the 2nd half and would've had a lead had City's new goalkeeper, Marton Fulop, not made stunning saves on Crouch and Jermain Defoe. Spurs also had Gareth Bale and Luka Modric miss chances wide of the target as the game crept toward full time. It looked as if Spurs would have to wait for the final day of the season to get to the Champions League.

Finally it was Crouch who capitalized. Fulop could only push a cross from Younes Kaboul into the big striker's path, and Crouch headed in. Spurs controlled the last eight minutes of the match, and now they find themselves in the Champions League for the first time.


Manchester City: Fulop, Zabaleta, Toure, Kompany, Bridge, Adam Johnson (Wright-Phillips), De Jong, Barry (Vieira '57), Bellamy (Santa Cruz), Tevez, Adebayor.

Tottenham Hotspur:
Gomes, Kaboul, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon (Bentley '71), Huddlestone, Modric, Bale, Crouch, Defoe (Pavlyuchenko '81).


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