MANCHESTER CITY 2 vs TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1
TOTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas could only praise Manchester City supersub Edin Dzeko last night after the Bosnian climbed off the bench to volley a superb winner two minutes from time.
Spurs defender Steven Caulker gave the visitors a first-half lead as the north Londoners threatened to end the champions’ 34-match Premier League unbeaten home run. But Sergio Aguero slotted his fourth of the season to level with 25 minutes remaining and Dzeko completed City’s comeback following a perfectly weighted pass from David Silva.
It kept City two points behind leaders Manchester United while knocking Tottenham down to seventh, and Villas-Boas compared Dzeko’s impact to that of his cross-town rival Javier Hernandez, whose goals downed Aston Villa on Saturday.
“If there is a comparable situation, it is Javier Hernandez,” he said. “In the last three games he has scored six times. He has come on and made a difference. Dzeko made the difference with the ambition to show he deserves to be in the final XI.
“It was an individual moment of brilliance, which is recurrent for a player who continues to be on the bench but continues to come on to destroy the opposition.”
Set-piece failures against Ajax in midweek pushed City to the brink of a Champions League group stage exit, and their Achilles heel was exposed again yesterday for Tottenham’s goal.
Tom Huddlestone’s whipped free-kick from the right touchline found Caulker, who escaped his markers to plant a powerful downward header that Joe Hart might have done better with than fumble into his own net.
Aguero’s penalty appeals, after his touch hit Williams Gallas on the arm, fell on deaf ears and Huddlestone capped an Emmanuel Adebayor breakaway by shooting low and narrowly wide before half-time.
City redoubled their efforts and Aguero equalised when he turned inside Caulker and stroked low across Brad Friedel into the goalkeeper’s bottom-right corner.
Dzeko and Aguero both tested Friedel while Silva rolled a shot wide before the Bosnian drove in from the right wing, laid off to the Spaniard and volleyed his delicate chipped pass into the roof of the net.