Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 August 2019

'That' Champions League classic and other memorable Man City-Tottenham games

Ahead of Saturday's third match between the two teams in 12 days, Steve Luckings remembers some epic encounters

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero squares the ball for teammate Raheem Sterling to score against Tottenham Hotspur. The goalk was ruled out after a VAR review and Tottenham progressed to the Champions League semi-finals on away goals. Getty Images
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero squares the ball for teammate Raheem Sterling to score against Tottenham Hotspur. The goalk was ruled out after a VAR review and Tottenham progressed to the Champions League semi-finals on away goals. Getty Images

It's probably safe to assume the third installment in the 12-day Manchester City-Tottenham Hotspur trilogy is unlikely to live up to the sequel.

Few experience such a gamut of emotions as City and Spurs witnessed in 90 minutes of action-packed drama at the Etihad on Wednesday. Think Mavelous Marvin Hagler v Thomas Hearns insanity extended for one-and-a-half hours instead of only eight minutes.

Pep Guardiola must now rally his troops in their quest to defend their Premier League title. City are the early kick off on Saturday and sit two points behind leaders Liverpool, who face Cardiff City on Sunday, with a game in hand.

Here we take a look at five classic matches between the two teams, starting with that Champions League classic.

April 17, 2019: Manchester City 4-3 Tottenham

It's hard to remember a more deranged opening 11 minutes to any game. The second leg of this Champions League quarter-final was delicately poised after Son Heung-min's winner in the opening leg for Tottenham a week earlier. City are renowned for their fast starts and took just four minutes to level the tie through a Raheem Sterling goal. Son equalised three minutes later and then put Spurs 2-1 ahead on the night, meaning City required an extra two goals to progress. Bernardo Silva equalised on 11 minutes before Sterling got his second 10 minutes later.

If that opening stanza left City and Spurs fans on the edge of their seats, what followed in the next 45 minutes left them quivering wrecks. A Sergio Aguero strike just before the hour mark put City in the driving seat to progress to the semi-finals before the first of two VAR interventions. Fernando Llorente's goal was allowed to stand despite calls that the final touch came off the Spurds striker's hand. That goal meant City had to score again and in the third minute of added time, they did. Or they thought they did. Aguero squared the ball for Sterling to score what would have been his third of the night. As Sterling wheeled away in jubilation, and Pep Guardiola celebrated wildly on the touchline, referee Cuneyt Cakir was alerted by the VAR official that Aguero was marginally offside and the goal was chalked off on review.

The tie finished 4-4 over the two legs, allowing Spurs to advance to a semi-final showdown with Ajax on away goals.

February 4, 2004: Tottenham 3-4 Manchester City

Tottenham were 3-0 up and cruising before taking in half-time refreshments in this FA Cup fourth-round replay thanks to goals from Ledley King, Robbie Keane and Christian Ziege. To make matters worse for City, midfielder Joey Barton was sent off for a protesting a yellow card that had led to Ziege's stunning free kick just before half time.

City needed a fast start if they were to have any hope and Sylvain Distin reduced the arrears three minutes after the restart before a deflected Paul Bosveldt strike galvanised City into thinking the comeback was on. Shawn Wright-Phillips levelled the tie with 10 minutes remaining before substitute Jon Macken headed in a winner with virtually the last action of the game to complete a memorable comeback for City.

November 24, 2013: Manchester City 6-0 Tottenham

"A very difficult start for us," lamented Andre Villas-Boas as Spurs trailed to a Jesus Navas goal after only 13 seconds in this Premier League clash at the Etihad. Things didn't get any better. A Sandro own goal and a Sergio Aguero strike put City 3-0 ahead at half time with further strikes from the Argentine, Alvaro Negredo - whose skill to drag the ball back past Michael Dawson before unleashing a howitzer into Hugo Lloris' goal was a thing of beauty - and a second for Navas completed the rout as City went on to lift the Premier League title under Manuel Pellegrini.

May 5, 2010: Manchester City 0-1 Tottenham

With both gunning for fourth place, this match also doubled as a Champions League qualification decider between Roberto Mancini's City and Harry Redknapp's Tottenham, who had not finished in the top four since finishing third under Terry Venables in 1989/90 and had not qualified for the European Cup since 1961.

Peter Crouch had not started a game for Spurs since a defeat by Portsmouth in the FA Cup semi-final, but Redknapp timed his reinstatement to perfection. The England striker, who had only notched eight league goals all season, headed home after City keeper Marton Fulop could only parry Younes Kaboul's effort into Crouch's vicinity.

Though not high up on Crouch's CV of classic goals, the image of his winner at the Etihad is now ingrained in Tottenham's history.

October 18, 2014: Manchester City 4-1 Tottenham

Joe Hart labelled City teammate Sergio Aguero as "useless" when it came to training, but the Argentine striker certainly comes alive when he crosses the whitewash.

Aguero scored all four City goals in a masterclass of finishing at the Etihad Stadium and it could have been five had Hugo Lloris not saved the Argentine's second penalty of the afternoon.

Aguero opened the scoring on 13 minutes before Spurs equalised a minute later through Christian Eriksen. Aguero sent Lloris the wrong way after Frank Lampard earned a penalty on 20 minutes but the Spurs goalkeeper saved Aguero's second spot kick with his legs to deny him a 32-minute hat-trick.

Not to be outdone by his opposite number, Hart saved a Roberto Soldado penalty midway through the second half before Federico Fazio was shown a red card for bringing Aguero down in the box. Aguero made no mistake from 12 yard this time around before a left-foot finish on 75 minutes saw him become the 13th player to notch four goals in a single Premier League game.

Updated: April 20, 2019 12:05 PM

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