Barclay’s English Premiership
Wednesday 16 December 2009, 20:00 KO
City: Given, Richards, Onuoha, Touré (c), Sylvinho, Barry, Ireland, de Jong (Petrov 71), Robinho (Santa Cruz 59), Tevez, Adebayor
Unused: Taylor, Zabaleta, Weiss, Kompany, Petrov, Benjani
Booked: Sylvinho, de Jong, Tevez
Referee: Alan Wiley
Man of the Match: Stephen Ireland
After the results of the night before, City went into this game knowing a win would take them back above Birmingham and ahead of Tottenham into fifth place.
The first real chance of the game came for the home side, with Peter Crouch firing well wide of Shay Given’s right hand post. Nigel de Jong then had a go for City, but it was high and wide and never troubling Gomes in the Spurs goal.
With 20 minutes gone, a bad back-header by Gareth Barry nearly let Defoe in to open the scoring, but Kolo Touré and Nedum Onuoha were there to clear the danger. Defoe then went down easily in the area looking for a penalty, and the referee rightly said no.
Kranjcar skied an effort before Tevez did exactly the same, before the best chance of the game so far fell to Robinho, who forced Gomes into a save from range. City wasted the subsequent corner.
Lennon then skipped past Sylvinho and set up Huddlestone, who fired well over the bar, before Defoe spun in the box from a Lennon pass, but his shot ended up well wide of Given’s right hand post.
With 37 minutes on the clock, Given did well to punch a cross away, injuring Richards in the process, but he got the ball away before it was met by Crouch at the back post.
Then Spurs found the breakthrough. A Defoe shot was blocked by Ireland from close range and the rebound fell to Kranjcar, who tapped the ball in, with Given helpless after reacting to the first shot. City were unlucky, but Spurs wouldn’t care about that.
A Crouch effort was then blocked by Given, before the home fans screamed for handball against Sylvinho, but it would have been very harsh to award the penalty.
The first half came to a close with City on the backfoot and with Huddlestone whacking another shot from range into the stands, after two corners for the home side came to nothing.
City started the second half much the way they ended the first. They were on the backfoot, but Tottenham didn’t look like taking the initiative when three long range shots was the best they could offer and each was well away from Given’s goal.
Onuoha was the in the perfect position to clear from behind Given, though it did look like the shot from Lennon on the edge of the box was going wide.
But then, just before the hour mark, they doubled their lead. A free-kick given against Adebayor for being pushed was pumped long by Gomes, where a flick on from Crouch left Defoe to toe-poke into the roof of the net.
Sylvinho was then booked for holding Lennon, when Huddlestone had avoided the same punishment for a similar foul in the first half and City were beginning to feel aggrieved with some decisions.
With 70 minutes on the clock, Adebayor had a great chance to pull a goal back, but his effort from the edge of the box was over the bar and it didn’t look like it was going to be his or City’s night.
With ten minutes to go, Ireland burst through the middle, skipping two challenges, but his curling effort was saved comfortably by Gomes, as City tried their hardest to get back into the game.
Sylvinho was then in the right place at the right time to block Defoe’s shot, before Onuoha pulled off a fantastic tackle to stop Peter Crouch’s run.
With two minutes to go, Gomes punched away a Petrov free-kick after Tevez was felled on the edge of the box, before Santa Cruz was astonished that the officials missed a handball back to his keeper by Dawson.
Adebayor then skied another chance with time almost up, before Ireland poked a shot straight at Gomes. Adebayor then couldn’t fined Petrov, after a good run and City were running out of ideas.
Kranjcar then added insult to injury, rounding off the scoring in the final minute of added time, toe-poking through Given’s legs despite a last ditch attempt to take from Onuoha. It will be a long journey home for the City team after an abject display.