Spurs spoil Pep’s party

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

TOT­TEN­HAM HOT­SPUR pro­duced the best Premier League per­for­mance of the sea­son so far as they in­flicted Manch­ester City’s first de­feat of the cam­paign – and a first loss un­der new man­ager Pep Guardi­ola in 12 games – to show that they are gen­uine ti­tle con­tenders.

Spurs took the points through an Alek­san­dar Ko­larov own goal, a strike from the su­perb Dele Alli and could even af­ford to miss a sec­ond-half penalty as they prof­ited from their ex­tra­or­di­nary workrate and pressed City re­lent­lessly even more suc­cess­fully than Celtic had done in the mid­week Cham­pi­ons League draw. Guardi­ola has to find a way to deal with this.

The de­feat brings to an end City’s run of six suc­ces­sive league vic­to­ries and al­though they still re­main top other teams have now bunched up be­hind them. It also leaves Spurs as the only un­beaten team in the Premier League. They de­served this win.

Spurs pressed high and at­tacked the City full­backs from the start and reaped their re­ward. They tore into their op­po­nents, did not al­low them to set­tle with man­ager Mauri c i o Po­chet­tino de­mand­ing that they pushed high and hard up the pitch.

City were un­set­tled and fell be­hind when Vic­tor Wanyama won the ball back and fed Lamela who pushed it wide to Danny Rose. His cross was too high for He­ung-Min Son – who put in a bril­liant per­for­mance at cen­tre­for­ward - but Ko­larov tried to clear with his right, only for the ball to strike his left leg and ric­o­chet into the net off the frame of the goal.

If that was un­for­tu­nate, un­lucky, for City then there was noth­ing fluky about their sec­ond goal. It owed ev­ery­thing to that in­cred­i­ble work-rate, brav­ery and de­sire, on 37 min­utes, they har­ried and re­trieved and did that again as they broke for­ward with even­tu­ally Son play­ing a clever re­v­erse ball which Alli ran onto – with Ni­co­las Ota­mendi fail­ing to track – and he turned the ball past Bravo.

Son was su­perb. He had al­ready forced a smart low save at the near post from Bravo and his work-rate and be­lief caused all sorts of prob­lems for Ota­mendi and John Stones. Ota­mendi, in par­tic­u­lar, strug­gled and was booked for up-end­ing Alli, af­ter quick feet from the mid­fielder had cre­ated space, and from the free-kick Chris­tian Erik­sen bent the ball nar­rowly wide of the post with Bravo beaten.

C ity

and re­mained dan­ger­ous, es­pe­cially on the break there was a sharp turn and run at goal by Ser­gio Aguero who was brought down by Wanyama. Aguero’s free-kick was head­ing to­wards the bot­tom cor­ner, maybe lack­ing a lit­tle in power, only for Hugo Lloris to turn it away smartly.

There were shots nar­rowly wide by Son and Wanyama, af­ter he won the ball back, with Bravo turn­ing the sec­ond ef­fort away for a cor­ner be­fore City went close. Fer­nand­inho slipped a pass through to Aguero who had time and space and pulled the trig­ger with his low shot re­bound­ing up off Lloris and against the post be­fore run­ning away for a cor­ner.

But it was Spurs who re­mained dom­i­nant and when Alli burst into the penalty area he was caught by Fer­nand­inho. It was a clear penalty and ref­eree An­dre Mar­riner pointed to the spot. Lamela as­sumed the re­spon­si­bil­ity but his penalty kick was too close to Bravo who dived to his left and pushed the ball away. It could have been game over but City still had a chance and sub­sti­tute Kelechi Iheana­cho al­most brought them back into it as he tried to slip a shot past Lloris only for the goal­keeper to block. The cap­tain ex­celled him­self when Aguero’s pow­er­ful shot took a de­flec­tion and he ad­justed to palm the ball away for an­other cor­ner as City fin­ished strongly but could not find the break­through to get back into the con­test.

— The Tele­graph

Dele Alli

Lewis Hamil­ton climbs from his smok­ing car as he re­tires from the Malaysian Grand Prix

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