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Man City 3-2 Spurs (Spurs Fan's Perspective)

Monday 23rd January 2012
As Mario Balotelli converted an injury time penalty, Spurs' title dreams were extinguished. A cruel ending to a fascinating game; goalless in the 55th minute, Bale made it 2-2 just nine minutes later. As injury time began, Bale was involved in the crucial moment of the match. He broke down the left and entered the box, squaring to Defoe who was unable to reach the ball. It was an agonising moment for Spurs fans, made worse as Balotelli was felled by Ledley King moments later to draw the decisive penalty.

The omens pre-match were good for Spurs. The return of the King is always greeted with sighs of relief among Spurs fans. Somewhat surprisingly, Dawson was left out for the captain and Kaboul retained his place. The Frenchman has been excellent this season and enjoyed another strong performance. He was disappointing in the 5-1, beaten by Dzeko's movement and aerial strength. There was no repeat of that yesterday as Kaboul dominated the Bosnian, who was largely anonymous until being substituted in the 65th minute.

The match began at a slow pace, the heavyweights circled each other and jabbed. There were few clear chances but City had the better of the opening half. Aguero and Dzeko both could have done better, while Spurs looked dangerous on the flanks without creating much in the final third.

Spurs matched City in passing (495 to 550) and chances (10 to 13) but their shooting was poor. They were restricted to shots from outside the area in the first half. The game began to open up in the second half and Samir Nasri found himself inexplicably open in the 56th minute. An excellent pass from Silva gave Nasri a chance which he took with aplomb. His thunderous first-time drive was too good for Friedel. Just three minutes later, Joleon Lescott was embarrassingly open at a corner and the former Championship defender had time to fall down and still score City's second. It was ominous for Spurs and memories of the 5-1 mauling came flooding back. Some fans would have been forgiven for turning away at that moment. But had they done so, they would have missed Defoe's response. Savic misjudged a simple aerial ball and Defoe chested the ball past Hart and finished nicely from a tight angle.

Bale's glorious, curling shot from distance soon made it 2-2 and the game was finely balanced. Late in the match, Balotelli should have been dismissed for a disgraceful stamp on Scott Parker. Parker won the ball in a challenge and Balotelli lashed out with his boot, leaving Parker requiring treatment. Referee Howard Webb could only have missed the incident and Balotelli should face retroactive action from the FA.

That moment threatened to overshadow an engrossing match, but the dramatic denouement would have given a neural the best possible conclusion.

Spurs' players vented their disappointment in interviews and on Twitter on a heartbreaking day for them and their fans. All focus will now shift to third place and finishing the season as the top London club. Disappointment came without disgrace for Spurs and they will hope to return to winning ways in their next match, at home to Wigan.
Samuel Rooke

Total articles: 19

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