Tuesday, May 28, 2024

– Has not been decided yet


Erling Braut Haaland scores Manchester City’s leading goal in the away win over Tottenham, which gave the team the match ball in the golden match in the Premier League. Photo: Adam Davy, PA via AP / NTB

Of NTB | 14.05.2024 23:49:32

Sport: With a home win over West Ham on Sunday, Manchester City will be league champions for the fourth time in a row regardless of what Arsenal do against Everton at the same time.

The game was teetering when the breakthrough came in the 51st minute. It started with Cristian Romero losing a duel with Phil Foden at the halfway line. The City player’s cross from the left was run up by Bernardo Silva, who played Kevin De Bruyne to the dead-line. Inside the goal yard, Haaland only needed to put his foot on the ball and cushion it in the goal.

– It was well done by him (De Bruyne). I was there just to soak it in, said Haaland when he was interviewed by Jan Åge Fjørtoft for Viaplay.

When City took the lead, Tottenham had just had a great chance through Son Heung-min. He flicked a cross from Brennan Johnson at the near post, but Ederson made himself big and took the shot to the body.

The South Korean took advantage of a blunder by Manuel Akanji and ran alone towards goal, but he was unable to outwit Ortega, who threw out his leg and saved with it.

– Ortega comes in and does a “hero performance”. He is so underestimated that it is completely wild to think about, said Haaland.

In the last regular minute, City’s second substitute Jéremy Doku was brought down by Pedro Porro, and Haaland determined the result with a shot in the crossbar.

– I was so tired, and it’s the first time I haven’t thought before taking a penalty kick. It was obviously a good thing, because I just blew it into the net ceiling. I think it’s the best penalty I’ve ever taken, Haaland told Viaplay.

– Now we are happy, but there is one more match. We will enjoy this, but nothing is decided yet.

– Ederson got a knee in the head, but I think he’s doing well, Haaland said.

At the same time, De Bruyne also had to go out. Pep Guardiola reacted strongly to the referees after Pape Matar Sarr tackled the Belgian on the heel a few minutes earlier, and goalkeeper coach Xabier Mancisidor received a yellow card when he spoke to the referees about what happened to Ederson.

Tottenham had to win to have a chance to qualify for the Champions League and have points to be absolutely sure of European Cup football next season. The team made it difficult for City and threatened to stop the team’s seven-game winning streak in the series.

The City victory means that the team is two points ahead of Arsenal and with one plus goal less before the weekend’s series finale. City cannot afford to drop points against West Ham, but are unlikely to.

Despite reports that the Tottenham fans wanted a City victory for fear that arch-rivals Arsenal would become champions, and that many of them had sold their tickets to City fans, the home team went to work offensively. Already after five minutes, Rodrigo Bentancur put visiting goalkeeper Ederson to the test with a hard shot that was deflected for a corner.

Haaland was given little to work with, and Tottenham pressured City for long periods. Still, City had the first half’s biggest chance. It came as a result of two gross defensive errors, but was averted with a great save.

After a quarter of an hour, first Romero and then Pierre-Emile Højbjerg each missed a clearance attempt, and Foden was able to shoot a volley from close range. He got a good shot, but goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario threw up his arm and knocked the ball away.

Kyle Walker was given a lot of space on the edge, but was unsuccessful with the posts.

Tottenham often struggled to play their way through City’s very high pressure, but if they succeeded there was often a lot of space. The team got a very promising three-on-two situation towards the end of the half, but Bentancur failed with the pass.

In the last regular minute of the half, Foden was played forward on the edge. On the post, Haaland shot on the volley and Bernardo Silva on the rebound, but the attempts were blocked first by Micky van de Ven, then by Radu Dragusin, who cheered wildly. Foden was disallowed for a narrow offside, but the Spurs reactions clearly showed that the team wanted a result.

City had the first chance in the 2nd half when De Bruyne shot in the box after another ugly mistake by Højbjerg, but Vicario produced another class save.

A little later, Haaland scored his first goal, and the drama that followed goes down in City’s club history.

City’s reserve goalkeeper Stefan Ortega literally became his team’s savior when, in the 71st minute, he barely kept his legs together enough to parry when Spurs substitute Dejan Kulusevski fought his way free and fired, and when in the 86th minute, he saved alone with Son.

In the 61st minute there was great drama when Romero chased down a cross from Porro at the far post and collided with Ederson, who had taken the ball. The goalkeeper was left lying down, and the match was stopped for many minutes while he received treatment. He played on, but appeared unsteady and was replaced by Ortega, much to his chagrin.

Guardiola’s City team have struggled away to Tottenham, and before the team won 1-0 in January in the FA Cup 4th round with a goal just before the end, City had neither scored nor avoided defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

Ederson was put to another test after just over half an hour when Brennan Johnson raided to the right of the box and fired from an acute angle. The ball changed direction on the foot of Josko Gvardiol, and the goalkeeper did not have full control when he gave a corner.

(© NTB)


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