Manchester City secure top four spot

Peter Crouch own goal seals Tottenham's fate and gives City their place in the European Champions League.

    Poetic justice for City fans as Crouch scores an own goal [GALLO/GETTY]

    Manchester City clinched the sought-after top-four finish in the English Premier League with a 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday night.

    The result secured a European berth for Roberto Mancini's expensive side, giving them at least a place in the European Champions League qualifiers next season.

    Tottenham were denied a second successive season in Europe's top flight competition thanks to an own goal by striker Peter Crouch who coincidentally had scored the lone goal at Eastlands last May that took Tottenham into this season's Champions League at the expense of Man City.

    Europe bound

    With two games remaining, City could yet overtake third-placed Arsenal, who they trail by two points, and qualify for the group stages.

    But it was not a vintage City performance by any means.

    Luka Modric should have put Tottenham ahead moments before Crouch settled the fourth-versus-sixth showdown, and it required a stunning save by City's England keeper Joe Hart to keep out substitute Steven Pienaar's header in the opening moments of the second half.

    But they just about did enough to secure victory ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final with Stoke at Wembley, where City will attempt to secure their first piece of major silverware for 35 years.


    Monday May 9

     Fulham 2-5 Liverpool

    Tuesday May 10

     Man City 1-0 Tottenham

    Spurs started well. Goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini saved well from Edin Dzeko's fiercely struck 11th minute effort after intelligent play by David Silva had teed-up the Bosnian.

    Mancini's side have managed to turn Eastlands into something of a fortress after winning seven of the last eight league games in front of their fans.

    After referee Mike Dean had waved away strong claims for a penalty after Michael Dawson's barge on Milner sent the City midfielder sprawling in the 18th minute, Tottenham began bossing play with Danny Rose a decent outlet attacking from the deep.

    Aaron Lennon picked out a fine pass to Modric before the Croatian let fly with an effort which should have found the target but fizzed narrowly wide.

    It was a costly miss as City immediately swept forward to take the lead.

    Attempting to clear Milner's cross into the danger area, Crouch only succeeded in deflecting the ball past Cudicini.

    Tottenham's problems went from bad to worse. Moments later Honduras midfielder Wilson Palacios was forced off in the aftermath of the goal.

    Yet the visitors would have been level but for a stunning one-handed save by Hart to keep out Pienaar's powerful header in the opening moments of the second half.

    City produced a nervous second half display yet they would have doubled their lead two minutes from the end had William Gallas not headed substitute Patrick Vieira's goalbound effort off the line.

    Another boost for the hosts came in the shape of Carlos Tevez, the Argentina striker playing the final seven minutes after missing the previous four games with a damaged hamstring. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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