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Guardiola praises Spurs’ attacking ‘quality’ as Man City suffer 3-2 loss to see gap cut to six points

The Premier League title race was handed a huge shot in the arm as Tottenham Hotspur netted a 95th minute winner to beat Man City at the Etihad.

Man City came into the game on the back of a 15 game unbeaten run in the league, while Spurs had lost on each of their last three Premier League outings.

However, the North London outfit would upset the form book as they went ahead in just the fourth minute. Harry Kane dropped in deep to receive the ball, before playing a sweeping first-time pass round the corner to find Heung Min Son who raced in behind the City defence. Bearing down on goal, the South Korean unselfishly squared the ball to January signing Dejan Kulusevski, who rolled the ball into an empty net for his first goal for the club.

 

City would quickly regain control of possession, and would go close on a number of occasions as they looked to draw level. In the 34th minute, a delicious ball from the left from the in-form Raheem Sterling would be dealt with poorly by Hugo Lloris, the Frenchman spilling the ball into the path of Ilkay Gundogan who punished the ‘keeper’s mistake as he fired the rebound home to level the scores.

The Blues continued to boss possession after the interval as they looked to find a go-ahead goal, but would be stunned just before the hour mark as Spurs regained the lead.

The tireless Heung Min Son arced a ball in from the left to find the darting run Harry Kane who found himself unmarked inside the area as he fired past Ederson with a first-time finish.

Kane – who was strongly courted by Manchester City last summer – thought he had netted a second 15 minutes later after he finished off Kulusevski’s rebounded effort, only for it to be ruled out by VAR for a marginal offside by the Swedish international in the buildup.

Having been handed a reprieve, City continued to push forward, and as the game ticked towards the 90th minute, there would be huge penalty appeals from those of a Sky Blue persuasion. Bernardo Silva’s cross from the left was blocked by the raised arm of Cristian Romero, and after a lengthy wait, they would finally be awarded the penalty they had appealed for. Riyad Mahrez stepped up and thundered home an unstoppable strike into the top corner.

However, that wasn’t the end of the drama, as Tottenham incredibly went ahead again in the fifth minute of added time. Spurs again found Kulusevski on the right, and this time he managed to keep himself onside. The 21-year-old sent a cross towards Kane, the striker outjumping compatriot Kyle Walker to grab all three points and blow the title race wide open.

Speaking after the game, Pep Guardiola said his side struggled to defend Spurs’ balls into the box, as he outlined the difficulties his side faced in breaking down their ‘narrow’ opponents.

“Well it was a good game,” he told Sky Sports. “We tried through many sides, especially down the left. It is very difficult, they defend so narrow.

“Tottenham have a lot of quality, they give the ball to Harry Kane. They are really good up front.

“In the first half they have the goal and no more. In the second half they have one attack with Harry Kane at the start and they score.

“We try to score but we conceded the goal in extra-time.

“It’s difficult when they defend so deep. We had the chances to arrive and score. Unfortunately we cannot score.

“They are clinical. They have Kane and Son and Kulusevski. Their crosses we could not defend.

“We didn’t have the momentum.”

City’s lead, coupled with Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Norwich, means that the gap at the top of the table is now just six points,

“We didn’t need to lose a game already to know how hard it is [to win the league],” Guardiola said of the title race. “There are many, many games still to play.”

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