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Tottenham fight back to hold Man City in six-goal thriller

By AFP - Dec 04,2023 - Last updated at Dec 04,2023

Tottenham Hotspur’s Swedish midfielder #21 Dejan Kulusevski (second left) heads home their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northwest England, on Sunday (AFP photo)

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom — Manchester City were stunned by a depleted Tottenham as Dejan Kulusevski’s 90th minute equaliser earned Spurs a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Etihad.

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou insisted he would not relent from his philosophy of relentless attacking football despite facing the might of City with a mounting injury crisis, and earned his reward.

Spurs captain Son Heung-min scored at both ends inside the opening 10 minutes.

Phil Foden put City in front before half-time, but Giovani Lo Celso levelled 20 minutes from time.

Jack Grealish restored the home side’s lead once more, only for Kulusevski’s header to ensure City have now dropped points in five of their last eight league games.

The English and European champions drop to third in the table, three points behind leaders Arsenal.

A point lifts Tottenham into fifth and snaps a run of three consecutive defeats.

“We were lucky to be in it by half-time. City could have blown us away in that period,” said Postecoglou.

“Second half we had more belief in ourselves and the team we want to be and we clawed our way back into the game.”

The visitors’ daring approach was met with an early reward.

Son raced onto Kulusevski’s ball over the top and Ederson failed to prevent the South Korean scoring his eighth goal against City.

The lead only lasted three minutes as Son cancelled out his opener at the wrong end.

Julian Alvarez’s free-kick was flicked on by Erling Haaland and deflected off the unfortunate Son into his own net.

 

Wasteful City punished 

 

Spurs started for the second consecutive game without a recognised centre-back and they never looked capable of restricting City going forward.

Pep Guardiola’s men should have had the game out of sight before half-time.

Haaland missed two glaring opportunities by his standards, while Jeremy Doku and Alvarez hit the woodwork.

Yet, City did produce a move of clinical precision to go in front on 31 minutes.

Doku fed Alvarez inside the box and the Argentine squared for Foden to slot home.

Guglielmo Vicario was forced to make a stunning save from Bernardo Silva seconds into the second period to keep Tottenham in the game.

But City were then guilty of resting on their laurels and allowing Spurs’ makeshift defence some respite.

Lo Celso, handed a rare run in the starting line-up by an injury to James Maddison, fired in off the post for his second goal in as many games.

Tottenham’s determination to play out from the back looked to have cost them 10 minutes from time.

Rodri robbed Yves Bissouma and played in Haaland, who crossed for Grealish to tap home.

But the drama was far from over.

Kulusevski timed his run perfectly to head in Brennan Johnson’s cross.

And City were incensed in stoppage time when referee Simon Hooper inexplicably stopped the game to award the home side a free-kick when Grealish was clean through on goal.

“It is hard when you review the image, the referee decides to blow the whistle after he has already said to play on,” said Guardiola.

“After the pass, the whistle, so I do not understand this action.”

City’s punishment did not end there as yellow cards for Rodri and Grealish mean they will be suspended on Wednesday for a trip to an Aston Villa side that have won 13 consecutive home Premier League games.

 

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