Ake scores late winner to knock out Spurs

City looked likely to have to settle a replay after missing a succession of chances before Ake scored their first goal at this stadium after 5 successive defeats with 2 minutes left
Ake scores late winner to knock out Spurs

Nathan Ake’s late goal gave Manchester City their first victory in 6 visits to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and a place in the FA Cup fifth round.

City looked likely to have to settle a replay after missing a succession of chances before Ake scored their first goal at this stadium after 5 successive defeats with 2 minutes left as Spurs keeper Guglielmo Vicario failed to hold Kevin de Bruyne’s corner under pressure from Ruben Dias.

It was a bitter blow to Spurs after a defiant rearguard action but just reward for City, who had been the better side only to miss the opportunities that had come their way before Ake bundled home from close range.

Spurs barely registered an attack threat, while City had an early Oscar Bobb strike ruled out for offside, Vicario also saving well from Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne was uncharacteristically wasteful with a golden opportunity after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had gifted possession to Phil Foden.

In a dramatic finale, with a replay looking certain, Ake struck to spark wild scenes of celebration among the 9,000 City fans who had made the journey to north London.

City’s late show seals victory

Manchester City only arrived at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium seventy minutes before kick-off because of the heavy Friday night traffic in London – then left it late to clinch a win they thoroughly deserved on the balance of play.

Spurs were caught up in a rush of Manchester City pressure for much of the game but held out despite being forced back. It almost worked by earning a replay but Pep Guardiola’s side are always likely to produce one moment that makes the difference. And so it proved here.

It may not have had the beauty that characterises so many of their goals, as Ake scored amid a near-post scramble, but this did not stop joyous scenes after the final whistle, with manager Guardiola especially animated.

City’s triumph will taste even sweeter because it came at a stadium that had brought them nothing other than misery until this FA Cup fourth-round tie.

There is a clear sense that City are kicking into top gear, with some of their early play scintillating, giving off the formidable air that is their trademark at this stage of the season.

The impending return of striker Erling Haaland will only add to their confidence as they chase the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League. For now, this is a win they will relish.

Spurs left frustrated as Maddison returns

Spurs would have been fortunate to come away with a replay from a game in which they were second best but to come so close and go out of the FA Cup will leave manager Ange Postecoglou and his players nursing real disappointment.

They relived their 1981 FA Cup final win over Manchester City, dramatically secured by Ricky Villa’s mazy dribble to win a Wembley replay, when four members of that team – Osvaldo Ardiles, Glenn Hoddle, Graham Roberts and Paul Miller – were paraded at half-time.

There was to be no repeat here. Further glories will have to wait as the avenue for another trip to Wembley was closed off by this impressive City side, with Spurs’ failure to score ending a run of thirty five games without a blank and highlighting the absence of talismanic captain Son Heung-min, who is at the Asian Cup with South Korea.

Micky van de Ven was outstanding in defence while Vicario was secure until he could not hold on to De Bruyne’s corner, giving Ake the chance to pounce. Spurs hoped in vain that the video assistant referee might detect a foul by Dias on Vicario but the decision to give the goal was correct.

Spurs must now turn their attentions to staying in touch with the Premier League’s leading pack; they currently lie fifth. The return of James Maddison as a substitute after being out with an ankle injury since November will be a boost to that effort but this is a loss that will hurt.


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