Manchester City 0-1 Tottenham: Peter Crouch goal sends Spurs into Champions League

Victory secures top-four finish for Redknapp's men...
Manchester City 0-1 Tottenham Line ups/stats
Premier League Results/standings

Tottenham Hotspur will be playing Champions League football next season after Peter Crouch's goal saw Spurs defeat Manchester City at Eastlands.

In a game tense game, it was Tottenham who created the greater chances and it was England striker Crouch whose goal will go down in Spurs history.

Manchester City made only one change from the side that started against Aston Villa on Saturday as Gareth Barry returned from injury to replace Patrick Vieira. Tottenham brought in Aaron Lennon for David Bentley and Crouch for Roman Pavlyuchenko, while Heurelho Gomes started in goal after overcoming a groin injury and Gareth Bale remained on the left of midfield. Ledley King started his second game in five days and his third in a row for only the second time this season.

Tottenham knew going into the game that three points would see Champions League for the first time for half a century, while for City and Roberto Mancini a win would put them firmly in the driving seat heading into the final game of the season. This was easily both clubs' biggest league game in recent memory.

As expected the game got off to a hectic start, with a cup-tie feel and it was the hosts who started the brighter, with Gareth Barry shooting wide early on before a rampaging run from Carlos Tevez ended with a shot blocked by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

Tottenham survived the early City onslaught and come closest to opening the scoring on 17 minutes. Wayne Bridge conceded a free-kick on the right-hand side, just outside the box and Bale’s in-swinging delivery was headed against the post by Crouch. Minutes later, King again found room in the box to put a bullet-header into the net, but the goal was disallowed for a foul by the defender on Barry.

The game was really livening up, with Harry Redknapp more animated than ever on the touchline, such was the importance of what was at stake for the victors. Just before the half hour, City went close again as England hopeful Adam Johnson forced Gomes into a save with a shot from 25 yards out. Kaboul then received the first booking of the evening with a foul on Craig Bellamy, who kicked the ball away in frustration without referee Steve Bennett noticing.

The home pressure began to build and Spurs once again had Gomes to thank for keeping them in the game - this time from a deflection off team-mate Bale. Barry's ball in hit Bale and almost crept inside the post, but Gomes scrambled to his left and pushed it away.

At the other end Crouch nodded down Lennon’s cross into the path of Bale, and his half-volley went inches wide. Some of the Spurs fans thought it was in, but somehow the teams went into the break goalless, the advantage with the away team.

Tough at the top | Redknapp and Mancini look on

Into the second half and just like the opening period, City came out the traps the brighter side and nearly took the lead just five minutes after the restart.  Johnson's cross was met by Barry's volley at the back post but there was no Manchester City player in front of goal and Michael Dawson hacked it clear.

Tottenham hit-back though as Jermain Defoe made his first contribution to the evening. A great ball from Bale picked out Defoe, who flicked a shot with the outside of his right foot. Marton Fulop made an excellent save to tip it around the post. City were then forced into a change, with Patrick Vieira replacing the injured Barry.

Space was beginning to open up as the game reached the latter stages, and again it was Spurs who went inches from taking the lead. Assou-Ekotto fired in a super ball from the left and first Defoe stretched and missed, and then  Crouch did exactly the same.

With 20 minutes to go, both teams made substitutions to try and force the game. David Bentley replaced the returning Lennon and Shaun Wright-Phillips came on for Johnson for the home side.

Manchester City continued to press, while Spurs were still creating the better chances - and Crouch should have broken City hearts in the 78th minute. But his header from Bale's whipped cross was saved at point-blanked range by Fulop.

But with eight minutes to go, Tottenham finally got the breakthrough that sends them into the Champions League. Kaboul went past Craig Bellamy on the right and his cross clipped off Bridge, catching Fulop unawares. The keeper can only palm the ball at Crouch, who managed to react in time to head back past Fulop to send the Spurs fans into ecstasy and the club to the glamour of next season's Champions League.

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