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CL dream fades as City gain revenge

Manchester City secured a place in the Champions League qualification round after an own goal from Peter Crouch saw them take the points at Eastlands.

Manchester City secured a place in the Champions League qualification round after an own goal from Peter Crouch saw them take the points at Eastlands.

The home side had it far from their own way and spent most of the second half on the back foot, making it a tense evening for most of the 47,069 crowd.

It took 30 minutes for City to open the scoring and realise some reward for dictating most of the momentum in the first third of the game, despite the possession figures being weighted in our favour.

The cruel twist was that the goal came moments after Luka Modric came within a matter of inches of shooting us into the lead. A brilliant run from Aaron Lennon, who was the most potent threat from the right, resulted in the England man squaring into the path of the Croatian who opted for placement and sidefooted low and just past Joe Hart's left-hand upright.

The home response came from a short corner routine, James Milner surged into the area and a drilled centre aimed into a crowd of players. The player who reacted first was Crouch, who unfortunately was facing his own goal and poked the ball beyond Carlo Cudicini.

The irony won't be lost on Spurs or City fans after the big man's famous goal clinched our place in the Champions League last year.

Harry Redknapp made five changes from Saturday's 1-1 draw against Blackpool.

Cudicini was back in goal for injured Heurelho Gomes and joined Vedran Corluka, fit-again Wilson Palacios, Lennon and Crouch in the starting XI.

Cudicini made a superb stop 10 minutes into the game when Edin Dzeko and David Silva combined, leaving the striker with a free shot on goal. Cudicini made himself big and made a strong save.

Palacios, back after a knee injury, could not continue on 32 minutes and was replaced by Steven Pienaar, leading to a positional change with Modric moving inside to partner Sandro in the middle and Pienaar occupying the left flank.

The scores could have been level just after the break were it not for a fantastic save from Joe Hart. Lennon crossed onto the head of Pienaar and only a superb stretch from Hart tipped away the header when a goal looked the likely outcome.

The pressure increased up to the hour mark without Hart being troubled further as the home crowd awaited the introduction of Carlos Tevez, in order to bring to life what was a fairly listless attack in the second half.

After calling Tevez back from his warm-up, Roberto Mancini opted to bring on Patrick Vieira instead. Perhaps a sign that the Italian was getting concerned with the amount of territory his team was conceding.

The only thing missing was the final ball or finish - dominance and possession was there.

With 13 minutes left on the clock, Jermain Defoe took over striking duties from Crouch.

It appeared Vieira was going to seal victory for City a few minutes from the end when his run and then chip cleared Cudicini and was on its way into the goal when the limping Gallas somehow diverted away just before being replaced by Younes Kaboul.

Defoe was denied in the final minute at the near post from a Lennon cross before a low Modric centre was scooped away by Vieira after eluding Hart. Cudicini was called upon to deny Tevez right at the end before the whistle went and home celebrations got underway.

The result leaves City seven points clear of Liverpool and nine clear of us with two matches remaining.

We now fight it out with Liverpool for fifth - and go to Anfield on Sunday.

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Zabaleta (Kolarov, 57); De Jong, Milner; Johnson (Vieira, 66), Toure, Silva (Tevez, 83); Dzeko. Subs: Given, Wright-Phillips, Boyata, Balotelli.

Spurs (4-4-1-1): Cudicini; Corluka, Dawson, Gallas (Kaboul, 88), Rose; Lennon, Palacios (Pienaar, 32), Sandro, Modric; Van der Vaart; Crouch (Defoe, 78). Subs: Pletikosa, Bassong, Kranjcar, Pavlyuchenko.

Goals: City - Crouch (own goal) 30.

Attendance: 47,069.

Referee: Mr M Dean.