Haaland double takes Man City top ahead of final day

Erling Haaland’s double and Stefan Ortega’s superb save helped Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 and ensure Pep Guardiola’s team head into the final day of the season leading the Premier League.

Haaland, who had opened the scoring with a tap-in on 51 minutes, slammed in a stoppage-time penalty to send the travelling City supporters into delirium at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

That spot-kick followed on from a wonderful save by substitute goalkeeper Ortega, who denied Son Heung-min a certain equaliser.

But with Haaland’s two goals, City – now on 88 points, two clear of Arsenal – are on the cusp of an unprecedented fourth straight Premier League title, while Spurs’ UEFA Champions League hopes are over.

How the match unfolded

Ederson was forced into action after just six minutes as Rodrigo Bentancur got on the end of Brennan Johnson’s cutback, with his strike from just outside the penalty area was tipped over by City’s goalkeeper.

The best chance of the half fell to Phil Foden, who – in the 16th minute – latched on to a poor clearance from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, but his close-range volley was superbly kept out by Guglielmo Vicario.

It took City less than two minutes to test Vicario once again after the break as he made an excellent diving save to palm away Kevin De Bruyne’s curling effort from the edge of the box.

But Vicario had no chance four minutes later – Haaland tapping into an empty net after latching onto De Bruyne’s drilled delivery.

Haaland goal v Spurs

Ederson had to be taken off after a nasty clash with Cristian Romero, and while City’s goalkeeper was frustrated, his stand-in Ortega turned in a fantastic cameo.

Having twice denied Dejan Kulusevski from close range, Ortega then stood up brilliantly when one-on-one with Son.

Son miss

It is a save that might just win City the league – Haaland subsequently making sure of the points after Jeremy Doku was brought down by Pedro Porro, leaving the reigning champions, who face West Ham United on Sunday, on the brink of glory again.

De Bruyne provides the spark but Ortega the unlikely hero

When City needed the breakthrough, it was no surprise to see De Bruyne provide it when he crossed for Haaland to finish. The Belgian has now created 10+ assists in six different Premier League seasons, the joint-most alongside Cesc Fabregas in Premier League history.

De Bruyne has now assisted Haaland 12 times in the Premier League, the most from one player to another in the competition in the last two seasons.

Haaland, meanwhile, is the first City player to score a brace away to Spurs in the Premier League since Edin Dzeko in August 2011.

Yet for the efforts of the attackers, it was Ortega who came up huge with those massive stops and that save from Son likely to go down in City folklore.

Spurs’ defensive woes continue

City only managed two shots in the opening 45 minutes – only against Aston Villa in December (two) have they had as few shots in the first half of a Premier League match this season.

Yet the hosts eventually came undone, meaning Ange Postecoglou’s team have conceded in each of their last 10 matches in the Premier League, their longest run without a clean sheet in the competition since September-December 2019 (also 10).

After failing to secure the three points needed, Spurs are now unable to catch Villa in fourth place, with Unai Emery’s team claiming fourth spot and a Champions League place.

Club reports

Spurs report | Man City report 

Final Premier League fixtures
Key facts

Man City will sit top of the Premier League table heading into the final day of the season for the sixth time in the last seven seasons (exception 2019/20), going on to win the title in each of those previous campaigns.

Spurs are now guaranteed to finish outside of the top four positions in the Premier League for the fourth time in the last five seasons, after finishing in the Champions League spots in each of Mauricio Pochettino’s final four full campaigns in charge (2015/16 – 2018/19).

Guardiola’s side are now unbeaten in 22 consecutive Premier League matches (W18 D4), including all 18 in 2024 (W15 D3). However, the last two teams to have enjoyed such a long unbeaten start to a calendar year have failed to go on to win the title in that same season (Liverpool in 2022 and Chelsea in 2008, both second).

None of Spurs’ 19 home league matches finished as a draw this season (W13 L6), the first team to go a full home Premier League campaign without any of their matches finishing level since Man City in 2018/19 (W18 L1). It is the first time in Spurs’ history that they’ve not drawn at home once in a single league campaign.

First appeared on www.premierleague.com

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