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Etihad Stadium (ATT 47,370) 5th May 2010 - Kick off 20:00 Ref: S Bennett

Man City Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham

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Tottenham 1

P Crouch (82)

Crouch grabs golden ticket

Spurs planning for Barcelona and Milan after silencing Eastlands

Last Updated: 05/05/10 11:26pm

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Crouch: Scored one of the most important goals in Tottenham's history

Crouch: Scored one of the most important goals in Tottenham's history

A late Peter Crouch header earned Tottenham a 1-0 victory over Manchester City at Eastlands and won the battle to rub shoulders with the elite in the UEFA Champions League.

Man of the match: Hard to split the two Tottenham central defenders, but Ledley King just edged it. He hardly gave the City strikers a sniff all night and made some important blocks due to his excellent positional sense. Moment of the match: Peter Crouch's goal that takes Spurs into the Champions League. He missed a sitter a few minutes before but sent the Spurs fans into raptures with a close-range header. Save of the match: Marton Fulop made some really important saves for City, but Heurelho Gomes turning a deflected ball off his own team-mate Bale was the best of the night. Shot of the match: Jermain Defoe hardly had a chance but his smart effort with the outside of his right foot would have given Tottenham the lead but for Fulop' excellent save. Talking point: Apart from Spurs going into the Champions League, is Roberto Mancini's job safe? SKY BET ODDS Tottenham are 20/1 shots to leapfrog Arsenal into third spot in the Premier League after the victory over Man City. Sky Bet have also cut City boss Roberto Mancini's odds to be at Eastlands at the start of the new season from 5/6 to 4/6 following the 1-0 defeat. BET NOW

The Premier League meeting had been billed as a cup final, with fourth-placed Spurs travelling to the North West aware that three points would guarantee a golden ticket to the qualifying rounds of next season's European Cup.

Likewise, Roberto Mancini's City knew success in front of their home fans would have put their future in their own hands ahead of Sunday's trip to West Ham and would have given the Italian greater assurance in his job.

But in truth the thought of the Champions League, which brings in excess of £50million and significant player-pulling power in the transfer market, got to both sides on a nail-biting night in Manchester.

It was Harry Redknapp's Spurs, though, who delivered a resolute and committed team performance throughout and held their nerve as Crouch headed past Marton Fulop in the 82nd minute to deservedly book a long-overdue return to the continent's top table.

For City, the England striker's late goal was a hammer blow as millions of pounds of investment last summer failed to produce Champions League football and left Mancini's future far from clear.

It was just reward for an incredible season for Harry Redknapp and his men, who may yet pip old rivals Arsenal, who sit thrid, to a place in the main draw.

At the very least they will be in the final qualifier, with a route to riches clearly mapped out.

Money

For City, the world's richest club, their failed attempt may just be a brief delay on an inexorable rise through the game.

But in a season that promised so much and will end with only a Europa League place for comfort, it was further proof for chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak and owner Sheikh Mansour that money alone cannot build a successful football team.

With so much riding on the encounter, so astutely placed at such a delicate stage of the season, it hardly needed the added spice of a potential legal battle over Redknapp's complaints about City's conduct in their pursuit of Craig Bellamy.

The lawyers will almost certainly not be called upon to intervene but both sides knew that Liverpool's collapse had left the path marked Champions League wide open for them.

Mathematics were hardly required. Tottenham, a point in front at kick-off, are due to visit Burnley on the last day, so barring some unexpected heroics from Brian Laws' relegation fodder, City knew they needed a win.

Their desire was evident from the start, with Carlos Tevez leading the way.

Apparently so unhappy with life under Mancini, the Argentina star still did his best to ensure the top-four berth he is said to have made the requirement for his stay at Eastlands to be extended beyond the summer.

Yet in Heurelho Gomes, Tottenham had their own South American desperate to secure their top-four status.

When Gomes, who shrugged off pre-match injury concerns along with excellent skipper Ledley King, denied Tevez in the opening minutes with a feet-first save, it was the first of three excellent stops before the interval had been reached.

The second was the best, flinging himself to his left to keep out a fizzing 20-yard strike from Adam Johnson that was heading for the bottom corner.

Gomes also had to be on his toes to keep the ball out when Gareth Bale got in the way of a Gareth Barry cross that had flicked off Tevez's stomach.

Given the frenzy of City's attacking play, watching England coach Fabio Capello can only have noted with admiration the composure of King, pressed into action for the second time in five days and producing a performance that belied his chronic knee complaint.

Repercussions

King had the ball in the net for Spurs, but referee Steve Bennett rather harshly ruled a single hand on Barry's shoulder warranted a free-kick instead of a goal.

Bale's effort would have stood shortly afterwards, though, after he had met Crouch's nod-back perfectly and fired a ferocious volley agonisingly wide.

The loss of Barry following an innocuous collision with Vincent Kompany not long after the restart was a blow for City, and also watching England coach Capello, who must have been impressed by Johnson less than a week before he names his provisional 30-man squad.

As Barry gingerly made his way down the tunnel - which could have serious repercussions for the Three Lions - the loss of Tom Huddlestone would have been a much more immediate problem for Tottenham had Bennett not taken a lenient view of what appeared to be a stamp on Nigel de Jong during a skirmish outside the City box.

It was the focal point of a scrappy second period that suited Spurs down to the ground.

Had either Jermain Defoe or Crouch been able to get their foot to Benoit Assou-Ekotto's curling low cross, the visitors really would have been in dreamland.

Crouch came even closer 13 minutes from time when Fulop somehow managed to keep out the England man's header after he had met Bale's cross perfectly.

It was only serving to prolong the agony for City, though. Tottenham were on top and the hosts' best chances had gone.

And when Crouch was presented with a third sight of goal, he did not miss.

Manchester CityTeam StatisticsTottenham Hotspur
0Goals1
01st Half Goals0
3Shots on Target4
7Shots off Target6
3Blocked Shots3
9Corners8
13Fouls20
6Offsides3
0Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards0
75.8Passing Success67.4
23Tackles17
78.3Tackles Success76.5
53.8Possession46.2
52.8Territorial Advantage47.2

Manchester CityTeam StatisticsTottenham Hotspur
0Goals1
01st Half Goals0
3Shots on Target4
7Shots off Target6
3Blocked Shots3
9Corners8
13Fouls20
6Offsides3
0Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards0
75.8Passing Success67.4
23Tackles17
78.3Tackles Success76.5
53.8Possession46.2
52.8Territorial Advantage47.2

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1 Chelsea 5 13
2 Southampton 5 10
3 Aston Villa 5 10
4 Arsenal 5 9
5 Swansea City 5 9
6 Manchester City 5 8
7 Leicester City 5 8
8 West Ham United 5 7
9 Tottenham Hotspur 5 7
10 Hull City 5 6
11 Liverpool 5 6
12 Manchester United 5 5
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14 Everton 5 5
15 Crystal Palace 5 5
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17 Sunderland 5 4
18 Queens Park Rangers 5 4
19 Burnley 5 3
20 Newcastle United 5 3

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