Early goal costly against City
Spurs 0-1 Manchester City
Mon 29 October 2018, 22:00|Tottenham Hotspur
An early goal for the visitors proved to be the difference between the two sides as Manchester City edged an entertaining but frustrating contest by the narrowest of margins at Wembley on Monday evening.
It was Riyad Mahrez who proved to be the match-winner, converting Raheem Sterling’s pass in the fifth minute, but we battled all the way to the end and were by far the dominant side in the second period, our lack of genuine goal-scoring opportunities being our downfall.
City opened the scoring with the first attack of the game, but it was another avoidable goal from our perspective. It started with Ederson’s long clearance which Kieran Trippier tried to glance back to Hugo Lloris but Sterling sped onto the ball in the left channel. Trippier got back to cover but Sterling tricked his way past him down by the goal-line before cutting back for Mahrez to tuck home.
We responded well to the early setback though, Harry Kane firing just over from 30 yards, Toby Alderweireld glancing a header from a corner straight at Ederson, while a break down the right saw Moussa Sissoko have plenty of time to pick out a team-mate but his pass for Erik Lamela was intercepted.
The visitors always carried a threat when they came forward but for the most part we defended well and when they found a gap on 28 minutes, Lloris was there with a superb one-handed save to deny Mahrez at his near post, palming the shot onto the woodwork. At the other end, Kane looked to be in on goal from Lamela’s pass, but his first touch was slightly heavy allowing Ederson to rush from his line and slide in to get the ball first.
We ended the first half strongly and started the second period on the front foot as well, Sissoko driving us forward at every opportunity with Lucas Moura and Kane trying to force openings, although anything clear-cut was not forthcoming.
In fact it was City with a glorious chance to double their lead on 54 minutes, Bernardo Silva sliding a ball across perfectly for David Silva eight yards who looked like he simply had to poke home. But the ball got caught up under his feet and although he managed to then find Sterling with a pass, his shot was blocked by Ben Davies inside the six-yard box.
Lloris saved twice from Sergio Aguero inside 60 seconds, but we were continuing to have the upper hand in terms of possession and impetus, Lamela cutting inside but firing well wide as we pushed for the equaliser. Fresh legs were introduced in the form of Harry Winks and Dele Alli – his first action since playing at Milton Keynes against Watford last month – for Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele and we should have levelled on 80 minutes. A combination of Lucas and Dele dispossessed Mahrez on the left flank, Dele burst forwards and laid the perfect pass in to Lamela, 15 yards in front of goal, but he side-footed over the bar.
City tried to take the sting out of the game in the final stages as we pressed them back, former Spur Kyle Walker causing a moment of panic in the visitors’ defence when his back-header almost found its way into the net. But it wasn’t to be.
Manchester City’s fifth-minute goal proved to be decisive on the night, but in a game of so few clear-cut opportunities for us, the key moment had to be Lamela’s golden chance with 10 minutes remaining. We’d worked so hard after going behind without being able to carve open that one chance to level it up, but it finally came in the 80th minute.
Dele provided the perfect pass from the left edge of the area, Lamela made the perfect run from deep but, on his favoured left foot, he couldn’t keep his effort down and it cleared the crossbar, to the despair of the majority of people inside Wembley Stadium.
The manner of the goal we conceded clearly annoyed manager Mauricio Pochettino, but he felt the team showed desire in an attempt to get back into the game.
"It was so poor and so cheap. It’s impossible to concede that type of goal at that level," he told Spurs TV.
"I’m disappointed with the result but I think the performance was good.
"It was an even game, we were very competitive in a good game in difficult circumstances for both teams. I’m happy in the way we played and competed."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Spurs 0-1 Manchester City
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Trippier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies, Dembele (Dele 75), Dier (Winks 67), Sissoko, Lamela, Lucas (Eriksen 81), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Aurier, Walker-Peters, Son.
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Stones, Mendy, B Silva, Fernandinho, D Silva (c, Kompany 89), Mahrez (Jesus 90+2), Aguero (De Bruyne 71), Sterling. Substitutes (not used): Muric, Otamendi, Foden, Sane.
Goal: City – Mahrez 6.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Lucas, Davies; City – Laporte, Fernandinho.
Referee: Kevin Friend.
Venue: Wembley Stadium.
Weather: Partly cloudy, gentle breeze, four degrees.