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Report: Spurs 3-1 City

Posted on 4 December 2003  - 12:00

English League Cup

David Pleat's pre-match prediction came true as we booked our place in the last eight of the Carling Cup on a memorable night against Manchester City.

Most eyes were on City in the build-up to this fourth round tie with pundits asking if this would be the moment for them to recapture their form after four games without a goal.

But David took the other path. "Of course, we know that," he acknowledged of the City threat. "But, at the same time, we could also turn that question around.

"Sooner or later Helder is going to hit the net, Robbie is going to explode - there are all sorts of reasons why we can do well, particularly as it is a cup tie."

How true he was. Postiga did just that to bag his first goal for the club, doubling the lead handed to us by Darren Anderton in a magnificent first half show.

With Fredi Kanoute also back and on the scoresheet after six weeks on the sidelines, it was happy days again at the Lane.

That first half performance was the best of the season. Everything went right. It was a joy to watch.

There was a vibrancy about the side not seen in recent weeks with Darren Anderton inspired in midfield, Gus Poyet buzzing around like a kid in a sweet shop after missing a few games, the defence completely on top of Fowler and Anelka and, best of all, Helder Postiga finally off the mark.

For their part, City just weren't at the races, a shadow of the side that battered us back in September.

It all started in the first minute when Keane shot into the side-netting and the opener arrived seven minutes later. It started with trickery from Ricketts on the left, Sylvain Distin's poor clearance fell to Anderton who controlled, faked to shoot and lost his defender in one movement, shifted the ball onto his left foot and struck a sweet, low shot into the corner from 22 yards.

Poyet, everywhere, played a key role in the next couple of chances. Two flicks caused havoc with Richard Dunne blocking from Keane and Doherty somehow missing his kick in front of goal. In-between, Kevin Ellegaard did well to palm out Anderton's free-kick.

It was all Spurs. Rohan Ricketts was inches away from Anderton's cross, Poyet headed wide and then the moment we've all been waiting for.

Again, it started with Ricketts on the left, his out-swinging cross foxed City's defence, Trevor Sinclair tried to control, lost control and Postiga was there to curl the loose ball into the corner. The goal clearly meant a lot and he was booked for his celebrations - lobbing his shirt into the crowd.

City, disappointed, could only muster a couple of long shots wide until the final minute when Anthony Gardner halted Claudio Reyna's burst and Nicolas Anelka's follow up struck Ledley King and went wide.

Not surprisingly, City came out firing in the second half but found Kasey Keller in their way again.

He was at absolute full stretch to tip aside Reyna's curler after 49 minutes and keep out the same player's close-range header after 58. In-between, Joey Barton's effort deflected off Gary Doherty onto the roof of the net and Carr did well to block Sinclair's header.

Barton should have done better from a defensive lapse from Ricketts on the hour but as the action somehow stepped up another gear, play switched ends.

Ellegaard read and tipped over Keane's attempted chip from the edge of the box after 62 minutes and King shot inches wide from 12 yards.

Steve McManaman came on to add to City's attacking options as the goalmouth action relented for a short period.

The tie looked safe but, after such a fine defensive display, we then gave City a lifeline. It started with a mix-up between Keller and Doherty, Doherty hacked the ball into the air and Robbie Fowler got the run on Keller to nod home.

City piled forward in the last 10 minutes and four minutes of injury time was nerve-wracking, nail-biting, cup football at it's best.

One amazing spell saw at least three blocks go in as the ball bobbled around the goalmouth but we eventually broke, Paul Konchesky darted down the left and squared to Keane, he couldn't make it but Kanoute - on for Postiga - was there to tap in on his return.

The perfect end to a perfect night.


1min: Superbly flighted pass from Anderton released Keane, clipped ball around Ellegaard but hit side-netting from tightest of angles.

4mins: Bright move, good passing led to moment of Keane magic but Dunne hacked ball away before he could get a shot off.

7mins: Keller out sharply to save at feet of Anelka, sent clear by Barton.

8mins: GOAL. Trickery from Ricketts on the left, poor clearance fell to Anderton who controlled, faked to shoot, shifted the ball onto his left foot and struck a sweet, low shot into the corner from 22 yards. 1-0.

18mins: Poyet flick, a feature of this opening spell, Dunne across to block Keane shot.

20mins: SAVE. Anderton free-kick through the wall saved low to his right by Ellegaard.

20mins: MISS. Ball played back in, another Poyet flick, Doherty miskicked in front of goal.

21mins: Ricketts inches away from Anderton's cross.

23mins: YELLOW. Wright-Phillips for holding onto the ball.

25mins: Taricco picked out Poyet, flicked header wide.

26mins: PENALTY? Ellegard spilled Postiga's 25-yarder, Keane first to rebound but went down under Distin's challenge, claims for penalty turned away.

29mins: GOAL. Ricketts cross, curling away, caused problems, Sinclair tried to control instead of clear, lost control and Postiga pounced to curl home from 10 yards. 2-0.

29mins: YELLOW. Postiga for celebrations - lobbed shirt into crowd.

34mins: City's first serious attempt, Reyna long shot high and wide.

42mins: Barton effort from fully 30 yards always going wide.

44mins: CLOSE. Brilliant tackle from Gardner to deny Barton, follow up effort from Anelka goal bound but bounced off King and wide.

Half-time: Spurs 2-0 City

49mins: SAVE. Keller at full stretch to deny Reyna curler.

56mins: DEFLECTION. But it's okay! Barton's effort came off Doherty's leg but landed on roof of net.

57mins: Carr great block as Sinclair headed Anelka's measured cross towards goal.

58mins: SAVE. Keller managed to reach Reyna's close-range header.

60mins: CHANCE. Ricketts should have cleared high ball, lost control, Barton dragged his shot wide from 12 yards.

62mins: SAVE. Quick-thinking Keane attempted chip from edge of box, Ellegaard lively to it and tipped over.

63mins: CLOSE. Ricketts won the ball back from Reyna on byline, laid square to King, low shot inches wide.

69mins: SUB. Konchesky for cramped-up Ricketts.

70mins: SUB. McManaman for Tarnat.

75mins: SUB. Kanoute for Postiga.

79mins: GOAL. Goal back from nowhere for City. Initial indecision, Doherty sliced clearance in the air, Fowler beat Keller to high ball, nodded into empty net. 2-1.

82mins: Keane got the better of Distin, ball back to Kanoute, goalbound shot hit Distin, appeals for penalty again waved away.

83mins: YELLOW. Anelka booked for challenge on Keller.

84mins: SUB. Dalmat for Poyet.

Line-ups: Spurs: Line-up v City: Keller, Carr, Taricco, Gardner, Doherty, King, Ricketts (Konchesky, 69), Anderton, Poyet (Dalmat, 84), Keane, Postiga (Kanoute, 75). Subs: Burch, Mabizela.

Manchester City: Ellegaard, Sommeil, Distin, Reyna, Fowler, Tarnat (McManaman, 70), Dunne, Barton, Sinclair,Wright-Phillips, Anelka. Subs: K Schmeichel, Macken, Wiekens, Sibierski.

Referee: Paul Durkin.

Attendance: 31,727