Manchester City's late strike sinks Tottenham in FA Cup nail-biter

Web Desk
Manchester City defender Nathan Ake (L) celebrates his winner at Tottenham. — AFP
Manchester City defender Nathan Ake (L) celebrates his winner at Tottenham. — AFP 

Manchester City clinched a dramatic 1-0 victory against Tottenham at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, breaking a longstanding goal drought at the venue in a riveting FA Cup encounter. 

The ultimate moment unfolded in the 88th minute when Dutch defender Nathan Ake controversially netted the only goal, propelling the holders into the fifth round.

The win took center stage on a day that witnessed the shocking announcement of Jurgen Klopp's impending departure as Liverpool boss at the end of the season. For City, this triumph marked their first-ever win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, a significant feat given their previous five goalless visits since the arena's opening in April 2019.

City's manager, Pep Guardiola, praised the team's stellar performance, saying, "Today we performed incredibly well. Everything pleased me, from minute one to the end." The victory extended City's impressive streak to seven consecutive wins in all competitions, showcasing their resilience after a pre-Christmas dip in form.

The triumph also comes at a pivotal moment in the Premier League race, with City trailing leaders Liverpool by five points but holding a game in hand. Guardiola acknowledged Klopp's influence on the league, commenting, "He’s been my biggest rival, so I think he will be missed. I’m a little bit pleased because without him, I will sleep a little bit better the night before we play against Liverpool."

The intense rivalry between Klopp and Guardiola, characterised by their battles for silverware, adds another layer to City's triumph. Having won all three major prizes last season, City remains a formidable force, challenging for the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup titles this season.

Despite the absence of star striker Erling Haaland due to injury, City faced initial challenges in breaking Tottenham's defense. However, Ake's late-game heroics secured the crucial win, demonstrating the depth and resilience of Guardiola's squad. 

Strategic substitutions, including the introduction of Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku in the final 25 minutes, further underscored Guardiola's managerial prowess.

In parallel FA Cup action, Chelsea and Aston Villa played to a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge, setting the stage for a replay. 

Nottingham Forest also faced a tough challenge, settling for a 0-0 draw against Championship giant-killers Bristol City at Ashton Gate, continuing the latter's trend of causing problems for Premier League opponents.