It was hard to tell which was in worse shape, the pitch at Wembley Stadium fresh off an NFL game the day before or the Tottenham attack which fell completely flat in a 1-0 loss to Manchester City on Monday. The field, which featured a faded NFL logo and yard lines from the game yesterday morning, saw Riyad Mahrez score the game’s lone goal which Tottenham could not overcome.
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The visitors only needed the single strike just six minutes into the match to move back into first place in the Premier League table. Mahrez was the man charging into the area to finish off a cross by Raheem Sterling in the game’s first attack, as the latter beat Kieran Trippier one-on-one to run the end line before his cutback to the penalty spot.
Harry Kane came close to a long-range equalizer just minutes after City opened the scoring, rifling inches high, but that was the closest they would come. Moussa Sissokho had a chance on a break down the right flank after beating Benjamin Mendy in the 23rd minute, but instead of shooting at a gaping net, he tried a quick cross that was blocked. Kane had another opportunity just past the half-hour mark charging into the box on the ball, but Ederson was there off his line to smother the ball before a shot could be taken.
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That was it before halftime as Manchester City controlled the pace of play but failed to generate anything before the break. They should have scored on 54 minutes, but David Silva couldn’t control a cross with the goal wide open at point blank range, and while off balance he laid off to Sterling whose effort was blocked on the doorstep.
Tottenham was slowly choked from the game, unable to generate a solid chance on net. Spurs finished without a single shot after the 10th minute until Erik Lamela skied a brilliant opportunity well over the bar in the 74th minute with the equalizer in his grasp. Substitute Dele Alli found Lamela on the break, but the ball bounced off the rough pitch at the last second, and Lamela whipped the effort into the night sky before collapsing onto his knees in disgust. Spurs struggled to create much else, consistently dispossessed before creating a chance and misfiring on crosses. City, meanwhile, just created enough to remain dangerous, while defending stoutly and maintaining superiority.
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Spurs pressed for an equalizer and pinned City back in the final 15 minutes, but a positive showing from Alli off the bench wasn’t enough to earn a way back. The visitors defended well on set pieces, and there were no more dangerous moments from the hosts on the battered field.
The win moved Manchester City to first in the table on 26 points, level with Liverpool but ahead on a far superior goal differential. They have six consecutive clean sheets in Premier League play and four straight in all competitions. Spurs, meanwhile, saw a four-game Premier League winning streak snapped, but questions about form will be raised as the previous three matches across all competitions featured a pair of 1-0 wins plus a 2-2 draw against PSV Eindhoven in Champions League play after conceding an 87th minute equalizer. Tottenham rests in fifth place with 21 points, one behind rivals Arsenal in fourth.