NATHAN AKE NETS LATE WINNER AS CITY KNOCK SPURS OUT OF FA CUP

Nathan Ake’s late goal gave Manchester City their first victory in six visits to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and a place in the FA Cup fifth round.

City looked likely to have to settle a replay after missing a succession of chances before Ake scored their first goal at this stadium after five successive defeats with two minutes left as Spurs keeper Guglielmo Vicario failed to hold Kevin de Bruyne’s corner under pressure from Ruben Dias.

It was a bitter blow to Spurs after a defiant rearguard action but just reward for City, who had been the better side only to miss the opportunities that had come their way before Ake bundled home from close range.

Spurs barely registered an attack threat, while City had an early Oscar Bobb strike ruled out for offside, Vicario also saving well from Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne was uncharacteristically wasteful with a golden opportunity after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had gifted possession to Phil Foden.

In a dramatic finale, with a replay looking certain, Ake struck to spark wild scenes of celebration among the 9,000 City fans who had made the journey to north London.

Man City’s late show seals victory

Manchester City only arrived at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 70 minutes before kick-off because of the heavy Friday night traffic in London – then left it late to clinch a win they thoroughly deserved on the balance of play.

Spurs were caught up in a rush of Manchester City pressure for much of the game but held out despite being forced back. It almost worked by earning a replay but Pep Guardiola’s side are always likely to produce one moment that makes the difference. And so it proved here.

It may not have had the beauty that characterises so many of their goals, as Ake scored amid a near-post scramble, but this did not stop joyous scenes after the final whistle, with manager Guardiola especially animated.

City’s triumph will taste even sweeter because it came at a stadium that had brought them nothing other than misery until this FA Cup fourth-round tie.

There is a clear sense that City are kicking into top gear, with some of their early play scintillating, giving off the formidable air that is their trademark at this stage of the season.

The impending return of striker Erling Haaland will only add to their confidence as they chase the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League. For now, this is a win they will relish.

Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

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