- Tom Cayless
Harry Kane hammer blow as Liverpool make ground – Manchester City 2-3 Tottenham Review
Following a successful midweek trip to Lisbon, Manchester City turned their attention back to the Premier League as they welcomed Tottenham Hotspur to the Etihad in a game that had everything from VAR drama to two last-minute goals. The Blues were beaten 3-2.
A late penalty from Riyad Mahrez looked to have won City a point at the death but it wasn't to be as the player City and Pep Guardiola lusted for all last summer, Harry Kane, headed in from close-range to ensure Spurs took all three points back to London and in doing so blew the title race wide open.
After the 5-0 victory during the week, Guardiola opted to make just two changes with John Stones and Mahrez dropping to the bench and the duo of Gundogan and Kyle Walker stepping in to replace. The German captained the side. Once again, Jack Grealish was absent from the City squad due to injury concerns. Cole Palmer and Gabriel Jesus both missed out on similar grounds.
Just four minutes in City were 1-0 behind courtesy of a three-pass move that simply cut Guardiola's side apart. Harry Kane, who many thought would be wearing a City shirt for this fixture at the start of the season, was allowed to play Son Heung-min in behind and the Korean squared the ball across goal towards Dejan Kulusevski, who finished into an empty net – the fourth goal the Blues have conceded in the first half of a Premier League game this season.
The league leaders suddenly turned it on, however. Raheem Sterling switched out to the left and ran riot along with Cancelo. The Portuguese came close when he slalomed through two Spurs defenders but couldn't find the far corner with a delicious curling effort.
The Blues then hit the woodwork. Sterling drove at a retreating defence and slipped the ball to Gundogan. On the turn, City's No.8 managed to set fire a bending shot but only managed to find the wrong side of the far post.
32 minutes in Guardiola's side got that the goal they so deserved. Sterling found space 30 yards left of the goal and whipped in a dangerous-looking ball; Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris came out and looked to have the ball but fumbled it straight into the path of Gundogan, who slammed it in past two stranded defenders to force a 1-1 draw at the break.
City started the second 45 in the same vein as previous - complete dominance of the ball. The Blues controlled and recycled the ball to an elite level but struggled to breach Spurs' 10-man defence.
The visitors then took the lead though through Kane. In what was Tottenham's first attack in the second half, Son floated a ball into the box towards Kane, who had run in between Laporte and Walker, to tap into the net from close-range.
Moments later Ederson made a great save to deny Kane a second. The England captain then had the ball in the back of the net again, but VAR ruled the goal offside with Kulusevski beyond the line of defence in the buildup.
As the final whistle looked like it was coming as City were going to leave empty-handed, VAR and its typical drama arrived. A Bernardo Silva cross was blocked by Christian Romero, and after wild appeals from the City players, a penalty was given. Under immense pressure, Mahrez stepped up and smashed into the top-right corner for what the Blues thought was at least a draw.
City pressured another late goal but were caught by a Spurs winner. Kulusevski crossed from the right towards the back-post where Kane rose highest past Walker to head in from close-range.
Ederson - 6
Walker - 5
Dias - 5
Laporte - 5
Cancelo - 5
Rodri - 6
Gundogan - 8
Silva - 6
Foden - 6
Sterling - 7
De Bruyne - 6
Substitutes: Mahrez - 7
Written by: @TomCayless_
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