Super-sub Defoe lifts Spurs
Super-sub Jermain Defoe stepped off the bench to secure a vital three points for Tottenham.
By Rob Parrish
Last Updated: 09/12/07 5:30pm
Super-sub Jermain Defoe stepped off the bench to secure a vital three points for Tottenham and continue Manchester City's away-day blues.
The England international was on hand to drill home the rebound after Steed Malbranque's curling cross-shot had hit the base of the post seven minutes from time.
City had been reduced to 10 men just seconds earlier with Stephen Ireland shown a straight red card for a late two-footed lunge on Lee Young-pyo, and the visitors never fully cleared their lines from the resulting free-kick.
It had looked as though it would be Sven-Goran Eriksson celebrating an inspired change after Rolando Bianchi had headed City level in the 61st minute, powering home Martin Petrov's corner just minutes after coming on.
Pascal Chimbonda had given Spurs the lead in controversial circumstances seconds before the interval, deflecting Dimitar Berbatov's cheeky flick from Jermaine Jenas' low free-kick beyond Andreas Isaksson with his arm when stood in an offside position.
But it was left to Defoe to grab the headlines with his goal just six minutes after coming on as City, who boast a 100 per cent record at home, suffered a fourth defeat on their travels and a seventh in succession against Spurs.
With Spurs' top scorer Robbie Keane out for another two matches through suspension, he also offered head coach Juande Ramos an indication he is ready to step in.
City were without the influence of Elano, the Brazil playmaker having failed to recover from a hamstring complaint, so their creativity came from Martin Petrov on the left wing.
Petrov's delivery from the flank went some way to explain why Dimitar Berbatov wanted his Bulgaria team-mate at White Hart Lane this summer.
However, with £8.8million striker Bianchi on the bench, Petrov only had Darius Vassell to aim for initially, giving Younes Kaboul time to settle after getting dropped for the midweek UEFA Cup clash against Anderlecht.
However, the young French defender's passing range was awful, and he was nowhere to be seen for City's equaliser.
At the other end, Darren Bent was wasteful. Berbatov's silky touches sent Bent through on goal in the ninth minute but Andreas Isaksson rushed out to save with his feet.
Javier Garrido picked up a booking for tripping Aaron Lennon, and from the resulting attack Berbatov was on the floor but managed to clip the ball through to Bent. He snatched at his shot with Jermaine Jenas waiting with an open goal in front of him.
Berbatov was full of invention, drilling a cross for Malbranque to sweep a shot towards goal but Richard Dunne got himself in the way of the effort.
City showed pace on the break when Kelvin Etuhu, making his first start for the club, smashed into the side-netting, while Michael Johnson was patrolling the midfield area with authority on his return to action.
The opener came on the stroke of half-time, with Berbatov getting fouled on the touchline by a combination of Gelson Fernandes and Vedran Corluka. Jenas drilled the ball across, Berbatov flicked and Chimbonda angered City with the finish off his arm - he also appeared to be standing in an offside position.
Eriksson responded by bringing on Bianchi for Etuhu just before the hour mark, with the substitute making an instant impact.
Spurs goalkeeper Paul Robinson would have been braced for a busy spell but he also had time to banter with the City fans, who dubbed him "England's number four" after his recent troubles at international level.
He could do nothing about Bianchi's equaliser, the Italian striker rising to thump home a header from Petrov's corner.
City were putting Spurs under intense pressure and Lee had to make a last-ditch clearance from another Petrov cross. Petrov also fizzed a long-range effort just wide.
The game turned when Ireland was given his straight red card by Mark Halsey for a slide on Lee.
Defoe grabbed the winner from the free-kick, with Malbranque hitting the post and the substitute smashing the rebound between Micah Richards' legs.
|Tottenham Hotspur||Team Statistics||Manchester City|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||1|
|3||Shots off Target||3|