City 2-2 Spurs
Report from the Etihad Stadium
21 January 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son secured a precious point as we roared back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with fellow high-fliers Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
In a rip-roaring game, we withstood heavy City pressure in the first half with Hugo Lloris pulling off a string of saves, only to find ourselves 2-0 down within eight minutes of the start of the second half.
Lloris will have been disappointed with both as Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne pounced to put the home side well and truly in command, but we showed tremendous character to get back into the game, Dele heading in Kyle Walker's peach of a cross shortly before the hour mark for 2-1 - our first effort on target.
Then came a crucial 60 seconds of action as City's Raheem Sterling had a penalty appeal waved away as he went through on goal with Walker on his coat-tails, with Son swiftly grabbing a golden equaliser at the other end following good play from Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane.
City new boy Gabriel Jesus had the ball in the net moments after his introduction off the bench with eight minutes to go, but the flag was up for off-side and we held firm to take a well-earned share of the spoils.
Mauricio Pochettino made one enforced change from last week's 4-0 home win over West Bromwich Albion with Kevin Wimmer coming in for the injured Jan Vertonghen on the left side of our back three. Indeed, we started with three centre-backs but ended with one - Wimmer made way for Son at half-time as we tried to find our attacking impetus and Toby Alderweireld limped off midway through the second period, with midfielder Victor Wanyama forced to deputise alongside Eric Dier until the end of the game.
Chances: City exploit high line - 11-12mins
The home side began flexing their muscles early on and shortly after Mauricio's former Espanyol team-mate Pablo Zabaleta got through in the box and was thwarted by Alderweireld, Sergio Aguero flashed a shot inches over the bar from the edge of the area. Our defenders were stationed quite high up the pitch and the home side were looking to play through them with rapid runners in behind, with Alderweireld once again in the way with a back-heeled interception following a dangerous City free-kick.
Saves: Lloris called upon a handful of times - 20-38mins
Goalkeeper Lloris was seeing a lot of the ball throughout the first half and on 20 minutes pulled off a fantastic save, stretching low down to his left to claw David Silva's drive behind for a corner. From the resulting kick, Zabaleta angled a low shot just beyond the far post as City kept the pressure on. Dier shifted forward into midfield as we tried to match the hosts centrally but after De Bruyne's low shot went wide and Sane headed off target, Lloris pounced on Aguero's 37th-minute header and then made a good save at his near post from the Argentine within 60 seconds. Mousa Dembele was a leading light for us as we forced our way forward on occasion, but the half-time whistle came as something of a relief.
Goal: Manchester City 1-0 Spurs - Leroy Sane - 49mins
We made a change at the break with attacker Son replacing Wimmer as Dier partnered Alderweireld at centre-half but four minutes into the second period we fell behind as De Bruyne launched the ball forward, Lloris headed it straight at Sane as he raced out to the edge of his area and the City forward was left with a simple tap-in.
Above: Danny Rose tangles with Kevin De Bruyne.
Goal: Manchester City 2-0 Spurs - Kevin De Bruyne - 53mins
Lloris once again cut a frustrated figure after City's second goal on 53 minutes. Raheem Sterling sent a low ball in from the right which the keeper attempted to pounce on in his goalmouth but it squirmed free and De Bruyne steamed in to sweep away from the Frenchman's grasp and into the net.
Goal: Manchester City 2-1 Spurs - Dele Alli - 58mins
We showed real grit and character to recover from the second goal and pulled one back five minutes later with our first attempt on target. Kane stayed strong to feed Walker on the right and he whipped in a delicious cross that Dele rose to meet with a header at the far post for his 11th league goal of the season and his eighth in the last six games. Danny Rose produced a superbly-timed challenge at the other end moments later to deny Sterling in the box, but we were dealt a further blow when Alderweireld limped off, with Wanyama dropping in to deputise at centre-half and Harry Winks introduced into the midfield.
Goal: Manchester City 2-2 Spurs - Heung-Min Son - 77mins
The home side had a shout for a penalty waved away on 76 minutes when Sterling went through on goal, was put under pressure by Walker and ended up shooting straight at Lloris, but within 60 seconds we were level. Eriksen found a pocket of space on the right, arrowed the ball in to Kane who flicked it into the path of Son with one deft touch and the South Korean international produced an accurate low finish into the far corner.
Goal disallowed: no dream start for city's new signing - 83mins
Gabriel Jesus was thrown into the fray as City chased a late winner and immediately produced a dangerous cross before latching onto De Bruyne's driven cross at the back post on the next attack and finding the net. The flag was up, however, and it did not count. A victory for us would have represented our best league winning sequence for 50 years but the solitary point we ended up with was still a valuable one.
Mauricio Pochettino said
"In the first half they played much better than us and we didn’t play in the way we normally play, but sometimes it’s difficult to keep the momentum and play the way we normally play. It was a big challenge for us today to equal that level. We conceded two goals and the important thing, the positive is the massive impact of taking one point. The belief and character we showed was fantastic."
Eric Dier said
"We had to dig deep and it’s mixed emotions really. We deserved to be 2-0 down. We were very poor and the fact we brought it back to 2-2 is fantastic. That shows the character we have, we’ll fight to the very end of every game. The thing is, we can’t feel too happy about getting it back to 2-2 because of the way we started the game."
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Bravo; Zabaleta (c), Otamendi, Kolarov, Clichy (Stones 84); Toure, Silva (Delph 90), De Bruyne, Sane, Sterling (Jesus 82); Aguero. Substitutes (not used): Caballero, Kompany, Fernando, Nolito.
Spurs (3-4-2-1): Lloris (c); Dier, Alderweireld (Winks 64), Wimmer (Son 46); Walker, Wanyama, Dembele (Sissoko 78) Rose; Eriksen, Dele, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Trippier, Carter-Vickers, Davies.
Goals: Manchester City - Sane 49, De Bruyne 53; Spurs - Dele 58, Son 77.
Yellow cards: Manchester City - Kolarov 45+2, Otamendi 52; Spurs - Wimmer 12, Dier 13, Dele 51, Wanyama 87.
Referee: Andre Marriner.
We return to FA Cup duties next weekend with a home tie with League Two side Wycombe Wanderers (Saturday, January 28). It'll be our first ever competitive meeting with the Chairboys, who battled back to earn a point with a 1-1 draw at home to Luton Town on Saturday afternoon.