Apr 21, 2013 at 1.30pm UK at ​White Hart Lane
SpursTottenham Hotspur
3-1
Man CityManchester City
Dempsey (75'), Bale (82'), Defoe (79')
Dawson (19'), Assou-Ekotto (48'), Huddlestone (66')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Nasri (5')
Touré (12'), Hart (75')

Live Commentary: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Manchester City - as it happened

Tottenham Hotspur's Jermain Defoe scores against Manchester City during the Premier League clash on April 21, 2013
© PA Photos
Find out how Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to defeat Manchester City with Sports Mole's text updates.

Tottenham Hotspur played host to Manchester City this afternoon needing to win to keep their chances of qualifying for next season's Champions League alive.

It looked as though they were going to be in for a disappointing day when former Arsenal attacker Samir Nasri gave visiting City a half-time lead.

However, a triple substitution from Andre Villas-Boas after the restart swung the match in Tottenham's favour and goals from Clint Dempsey, Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale secured a 3-1 win for the hosts.

You can find out how the match unfolded with our minute-by-minute updates.


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12.32pmAfternoon all. While yesterday was mainly about the relegation battle, today's actions involves those challenging at the other end of the table. It's a big one for Tottenham Hotspur in particular because their Champions League qualification chances are hanging by a thread at the moment.

12.35pmNot that it is a meaningless match for Manchester City either. They may be massive outsiders in the title race, but they will want to delay Manchester United's celebrations for as long as possible. A win today means that the Red Devils will have to wait for at least two more matches.

12.38pmRight, the teams news from White Hart Lane is just beginning to filter through to us. Let's begin with how visiting Man City will start this encounter shall we?

12.39pmMAN CITY XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Yaya Toure, Barry, Milner, Nasri; Tevez, Dzeko

12.41pmWell, the big news for City is that both David Silva and Sergio Aguero have not been included in their starting lineup. The attacking duo have failed to shake off injuries. That has handed an opportunity to Edin Dzeko, who will partner Carlos Tevez up front. Elsewhere, Samir Nasri and James Milner will start in the midfield.

12.43pmAnd now for the home side, who have a big name returning...

12.44pmTOTTENHAM XI: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Dempsey, Dembele, Parker, Sigurdsson; Bale; Adebayor

12.46pmAndre Villas-Boas may have confirmed it on Friday, but some reports had claimed that Gareth Bale would not be fit enough for this match. He is though and that is a big boost for the home team. Also coming into the side is left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto, while former City striker Emmanuel Adebayor will lead the attack.

12.50pmThere is also further good news for Spurs in terms of who is included on their bench. Having spent a few weeks on the sidelines with a pelvic injury, striker Jermain Defoe has returned. Here is who the England international is joined by:

TOTTENHAM: Friedel, Caulker, Naughton, Holtby, Huddlestone, Livermore, Defoe

MAN CITY: Pantilimon, Kolo Toure, Kolarov, Lescott, Garcia, Sinclair, Aguero


12.54pmAnother big name among those substitutes is Aguero. He limped off against Wigan Athletic with a hamstring injury on Wednesday night, but has still be named on the City bench. You can only imagine that he will be used in an emergency today. The last thing the away side will want is to lose the Argentine for next month's FA Cup final.

12.58pmOf course, the omission of Aguero from the start has handed a chance to Dzeko, who has fond memories of White Hart Lane. When City ran out 5-1 winners here last season, the Bosnian international scored four times in what was a clinical performance. He also scored when the two teams met at the Etihad Stadium earlier this campaign.

1.02pmHere is footage of those four Dzeko goals - sorry Spurs fans!


1.06pmThat victory has been part of a run that has seen Man City win the last four meetings between these two clubs. Having said that, while recent history may not be on Tottenham's side, looking further back, they have dominated this fixture. Up until the previous four encounters, Spurs lost just three out of 27.

1.08pmAnd if there was a time to end that run of defeats, it is today. For so long Spurs have looked certain to finish in the top four, but now they are playing catch up. A defeat this afternoon would put a huge dent in their chances of reaching the Champions League. On the flip side, a win could do wonders for their confidence.

1.12pmThe return of Bale could prove to be the difference. How fit is he? Well, only time will tell but we saw with Barcelona and Lionel Messi in the Champions League recently how the return of a key player can lift a team and the crowd. Bale's influence is highlighted by the fact that Spurs have not won a match that he hasn't scored in since the turn of the year.

1.13pmAs if that wasn't enough to prove his importance, here is another statistic from they guys at Opta on Twitter: "56% - Tottenham have won 56% of their Premier League games with Gareth Bale this season, and just 40% without him. Return."

1.16pmIt certainly won't be easy for Spurs and Bale to find the net today though. Courtesy of Opta once again, the two stats in the next post will show why...

1.17pm"4 - Manchester City have kept a clean sheet in their last four Premier League trips to London. Capital."

"15 - Joe Hart has 15 Premier League clean sheets this season, three more than any other goalkeeper (Cech - 12). Safe."


1.19pmWith statistics like that, it is really hard to fathom why City are so far behind in the title race. Obviously, they've drawn too many matches this season and there is also been the injuries to the likes of Aguero and captain Vincent Kompany. Even so, it's been a disappointing campaign for Roberto Mancini's team.

1.21pmRight, with around 10 minutes to go until we are off and running at the Lane, let's hear what the two skippers have been saying shall we? Both of them have been talking to Sky Sports News.

Tottenham's Michael Dawson: "We're still confident of finishing in the top four. We know what a win today will do, we're chasing again but we're feeling good."

Man City's Vincent Kompany: "This is one of those matches you want to win because it is one of the big games of the season. It is a hard place to come and if we can get away from here with three points then it will be incredible."


1.24pmAnd while we are at it, here's some words from Tottenham head coach Villas-Boas - again to Sky Sports News: "We have managed to recover two players for this game from injury. We are still missing a couple but it's excellent to have them back.

"Champions League qualification still depends on us. If we do our job properly then we can achieve what we want. Chelsea and Arsenal have tough games and I think it will go down to the last fixtures of the season. Victory today could send a message to our rivals and think we can get a win."


1.26pmThe players are now in the tunnel, with City goalkeeper Hart in particular looking relaxed. He's just had a brief chat with Bale and Scott Parker. You can also hear the atmosphere inside the ground is building up. The home support know how big this encounter is for their side.

1 minGAME ON! Here we go then. Hosting Spurs, attacking from right to left, get this vital Premier League fixture started. There's a big 90 minutes ahead.

3 minSAVE! Well, Bale looks up for this one! He's just collected the ball 30 yards from goal and has plenty of grass in front of him. Such is his confidence though that he goes for goal and sends a swerving shot goalwards that Hart collects at the second attempt.

5 minGOAL! Tottenham 0-1 Man City (Nasri)

7 minWow, what a frantic start we've had here. Moments earlier Bale warms Hart's hands, then City go up the other end and score. It's a fantastic goal from their point of view as Tevez plays a neat reverse pass through to James Milner, who whips over a cross from the right to the back post. Samir Nasri is there waiting and the French midfielder volleys into the bottom corner of the net despite Kyle Walker's best efforts on the line. Great start for the away side.

10 minIt's almost a case of hero to villain for Nasri, who is lucky to still be on the pitch. We saw Steve Sidwell and Olivier Giroud red carded yesterday for going over the top of the ball and the City attacker has just committed a similar challenge on Walker. Lee Mason's view was obscured but had he seen it, Nasri could have been heading for an early bath.

12 minBOOKING! What a silly yellow card for Yaya Toure to receive. Gareth Barry brings down Parker and the referee blows for a clear free kick. The ball falls to Toure, who stupidly kicks it away right under the nose of the match official. That's a yellow card all day long.

17 minSpurs actually started this encounter well but ever since City took the lead, they've been in control. Tevez and Milner in particular are looking extremely sharp and are keeping the ball well between themselves down the right hand side. The home team need to get hold of possession or they could end up finding themselves 2-0 down soon.

19 minBOOKING! It's now 1-1 in terms of yellow cards as Tottenham skipper Dawson goes into the book. He tries to protest his innocence but he clearly fouled Dzeko from behind 30 yards from goal. It's an untidy looking challenge and a deserved caution.

22 minSAVE! That is why Hart has kept so many clean sheets this season. It's fantastic from Clint Dempsey, who splits the City defence with a clever pass between the centre-back and left-back. Walker runs onto it, but delays his shot enough for Hart to come out and thwart the danger. Brave stuff from the Man City and England number one.

26 minSpurs have started to come into this encounter now. The likes of Moussa Dembele and Parker are seeing much more of the ball in the middle of the pitch, which has stemmed the City tide. We've seen very little of Bale though, particularly in threatening areas.

29 minCHANCE! Quite simply, Man City and Nasri should be celebrating a second goal. It's wonderful from Tevez once again as he guides the ball into the path of Nasri with the deftest of touches. That puts the City attacker through on goal, but while he beats Hugo Lloris, his poked effort from close range skids wide of the target.

34 minPENALTY APPEAL! Big shouts from the Tottenham players as Dawson goes up in the area and wins a header. The home side feel that the ball then hit Barry on the hand, and replays show that they have a case. Referee Mason is having none of it though and play continues.

38 minAll the talk leading up to this encounter surrounded the return of Bale. However, while Spurs obviously missed their Welsh talisman, they are also not the same team with Aaron Lennon. He gives them some balance on the right wing and has had a great season. At the moment, they have nothing down the right hand side unless Walker gets forward from full-back.

41 minSAVE! Tevez is head and shoulders above every player on the pitch today. Again he turns creator with an instant flicked pass through to Dzeko, whose first touch opens up an opportunity. The Bosnian attempts to catch out Lloris by going for the near post from the edge of the area, but the Spurs goalkeeper is alert and gets down well to hold the effort.

44 minSAVE! Lloris is keeping Spurs in this game at the moment. The French international is again called into action, this time to deny Tevez. The Argentine may feel that he should have done better with his headed effort from six yards out, but Lloris showed good reflexes to push the ball away from danger.

45 minThe fourth official has indicated that there will be at least two minutes of stoppage time at the end of this first half.

45+2 minCHANCE! How an earth are Spurs not level? Brilliant play from Walker down the right sees him send over a cross that Man City fail to clear. It looks for all the world that Gylfi Sigurdsson is going to tap home the equaliser, but Pablo Zabaleta throws himself in the way to block. What a time that would have been to score.

45+2 minHALF-TIME: Tottenham 0-1 Man City

2.21pmSo, there goes the whistle. You'd have to say that City deserve to be in front. They've defended really well (as highlighted by Zabaleta's work at the end of the half) and when the chance has come to attack, they have done so with style. Tevez has been a joy to watch - he's dropping deep and the Spurs players do not seem to know who should be marking him. Consequently, the little Argie is running riot.

2.24pmOn the other hand, Spurs have been largely disappointing. As mentioned earlier they are missing Lennon and they cannot get Bale into the match. As for Adebayor, don't get me started! A lone striker needs to work hard first and foremost, but the Togo international does not look interested. It may not be long until we see Defoe coming on.

2.26pmHaving said that, here's a statistic via Opta that will give Tottenham fans some cause for optimism: "65% - 36 of Tottenham's 55 league goals this season have come in the second half of their matches. Refreshed."

2.30pmAnother option for Spurs is moving Bale back out to the left. In recent weeks he's played in a central position but there is nothing in there for him today. The likes of Yaya Toure and Barry are controlling that area of the pitch. At the moment, City right-back Zabaleta is having an afternoon off and is also going forward at will. If Bale was to play on the left, that would give him much more to think about.

2.31pmHere's one more stat from Opta before we get restarted at the Lane. Look away now Tottenham supporters: "20 - Manchester City are yet to lose in the Premier League this season when they have taken the lead, winning 20 of 22 games so far. Start."

45 minRight, City get the second half underway and they have also made a change. Milner has been forced off with a hamstring injury and on in his place comes Aleksandar Kolarov. That could see Nasri move out to the right side of midfield because Kolarov is naturally left footed.

49 minBOOKING! What an earth is Assou-Ekotto doing? He's just jumped into a challenge with Zabaleta with both feet and his studs showing. In today's game, that is plain stupid. Credit to Zabaleta, because he gets straight up and embraces to Tottenham full-back, who escapes with a yellow card. That could easily have been red though.

51 minThese guys at Opta don't have many positive stats for Spurs, do they?!: "15 - No team has conceded fewer second half goals this season in the Premier League than Manchester City (equal with Arsenal). Tight."

53 minBale has actually moved out to the right at the start of the second half, but we've seen even less of him then we did during the opening 45 minutes. Spurs are finding it extremely hard to get their talisman on the ball, although credit must go to City because they are nullifying the threat well.

58 minSticking with Bale, got to confess that I'm confused as to why he's gone out to the right. City have brought on Kolarov, who is a defensive-minded player and between him and full-back Gael Clichy, they are doubling up on the Spurs winger. On the other side the pitch is Nasri and it would be fair to say that defending is not his strong point.

61 minSUBSTITUTIONS: It's a double switch for the home team, but no sign of Defoe just yet. Off go Sigurdsson and Dempsey, both of whom have struggled to have an impact on the game. They have been replaced by Lewis Holtby and Tom Huddlestone and it looks as though Spurs have reverted to a 4-3-3 formation.

66 minBOOKING! First involvement for Huddlestone sees him go into the book. It's one of those you take for the team because Toure was about to get into his stride and burst into the Spurs half. His progress was halted by the Spurs sub though, who wiped his feet away.

68 minThat change in tactics from Tottenham has altered Dembele's role. The Belgian has more chances to get forward, which suits his game down to the ground. Before that he was playing in a more reserved role, which is a waste of such talent. He's now having much more influence on proceedings.

71 minSUBSTITUTION: A big cheer goes up from the home faithful as Defoe appears on the touchline. He is replacing Adebayor, who was extremely poor today. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him moving on in the summer.

74 minGOAL! Tottenham 1-1 Man City (Dempsey)

77 minIt's been all Spurs since they switched to a 4-3-3 formation and they've been rewarded with an equaliser. It's all about Bale, who sends a low pass across the face of the goal with the outside of his left foot. Hart cannot come and claim it and Kompany looks scared to touch the ball incase he scores an own goal. That leaves an unmarked Dempsey at the back post, who slides in to draw the Londoners level. Game on at White Hart Lane.

79 minGOAL! Tottenham 2-1 Man City (Defoe)

81 minMr Defoe, take a bow. He's done more in the last five minutes than Adebayor did all game and now he has fired his team in front with a stunning goal. Kompany shows him onto his right foot to the left side of the area and the England striker punishes that error by curling the ball beyond the reach of Hart. That's a fantastic goal, typical Defoe. As it stands, Spurs are back in contention for a Champions League place, while Man United can win the title tomorrow night.

82 minGOAL! Tottenham 3-1 Man City (Bale)

83 minWhat an amazing eight minutes it has been at White Hart Lane - Spurs have scored a third! Huddlestone picks out Bale, whose touch takes him into the penalty area. Hart races off his line, but Bale has the quality to lift the ball over him and into the net. It's a really neat finish and Spurs surely have the three points sewn up. What a tactical switch from AVB!

84 minSUBSTITUTION: Dzeko, who has been below par today, is given a breather for City and on in his place comes Scott Sinclair. Remember him?!

86 minIf White Hart Lane had a roof, it would have been blown off by now! To be fair to the Tottenham fans, they've stuck by their team all afternoon. However, since the three goals it has got even louder. Their side have given themselves a real chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

90 minWe will have three minutes of stoppage time at the end of this match.

90+1 minSUBSTITUTION: A final change for the away side as Clichy is hooked and on in his place comes Joleon Lescott. Normally a centre-back, the England international will play the final few minutes as a striker! This could be interesting.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Tottenham 3-1 Man City

3.22pmWell, I did not see that coming at half-time, it must be said. It probably wouldn't have happened had Villas-Boas not made that switch midway through the second half. They've re-energised their quest for Champions League football, with the battle looking like it will go down to the wire.

3.24pmFor City, they've all but handed the title to rivals Man United. If the Red Devils win against Aston Villa tomorrow, they will be crowned the champions of England for a 20th time. In terms of the Premier League, it's been a disappointing campaign for Mancini and his players.

3.25pmThat is all we have time for from White Hart Lane. Thanks for joining us this afternoon and be sure to look out for analysis of the clash, which will be with you soon. Until next time, goodbye.

Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring his second in the Europa League match against Lyon on February 14, 2013
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