Tottenham Hotspur 3:0 Leicester City
City’s first ever visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium saw them beaten 3-0, setting up a possible winner-takes-all showdown with Manchester United next week.
Brendan Rodgers, with his options running out due to injuries and suspension, named an unchanged line-up, sticking with his back three formation.
But it soon became clear that it wasn’t going to be City’s day.
From a Spurs clearance Kane delivered a sweeping pass that sent Son down the left channel. He cut inside Bennett, who slipped at the vital moment, and although his shot was going wide it deflected off Justin and wrong-footed Schmeichel, for a second unfortunate own goal in two games. Kane was two yards offside and in Schmeichel’s eyeline but VAR did not intervene.
City had a chance to strike back a minute later when Justin sent a tempting cross over, but Vardy headed it over the bar.
City pressed forward and Vardy had a shot blocked by Alderweireld. Then Justin was also denied with Davies getting in the way of his effort, and Pérez hit Aurier with yet another shot.
In the 20th minute a corner form the right was headed goalwards by Morgan. It fell to the feet of Vardy who jabbed a backheel that was smothered by Lloris.
The Spurs keeper then made a hash of a Tielemans cross, but Winks was on hand to clear. We saw the best and worst of the World Cup winner within four minutes as he pulled off a spectacular save after Pérez took a Thomas cross on his chest and then volleyed it towards the bottom right hand corner.
On the half hour there was a fine save at the other end when Spurs broke forward and Son launched an effort which Schmeichel tipped over.
For all City’s possession, Tottenham looked a threat on the break and so it proved in the 37th minute. A City corner was headed clear as far as Thomas, but he lost possession and the white shirts were charging upfield. Lucas Moura fed a ball through to Kane’s perfectly timed run and he produced a clinical finish, guiding the ball into the bottom right hand corner.
If this left City with an uphill task, it was game over in the 40th minute.
Again Thomas lost possession, again Spurs poured forward and again Lucas Moura set Kane up. He accelerated round Bennett and curled a shot round Morgan and just inside the far post.
City hadn’t played badly going forward, but were too vulnerable to the counter attack, and were now clinging to fourth place on goal difference.
Rodgers pulled Bennett from the fray for the second half, bringing Gray on, and City were caught between trying to grab a goal back and leaving themselves open again.
A superb reverse-pass from Kane almost sent Son in but his first touch was poor.
City had fewer chances now. A 30-yard free-kick from Gray forced a regulation tip over from Lloris and then Morgan headed wide from the resulting Tielemans corner.
Barnes then fired in a shot from a good position, but straight at Lloris.
The rest of the half saw a parade of substitutes. Iheanacho replaced Pérez, and then, with an eye on next week, Ndidi and Tielemans were withdrawn from a battle that had been lost, with Praet and Mendy coming on.
Evans was wrestled to the ground by Sanchez at a corner, but VAR turned a blind eye.
George Hirst made his City debut in the 83rd minute, with Barnes making way and he soon had a chance. After Lloris had tipped away an Iheanacho shot, Hirst headed over from the corner.
That was the last significant incident and having lived in the top four for months, City were now clinging on by the narrowest of margins.
The permutations of that final showdown won’t be known until Wednesday night, but City fans may have taken heart from Manchester United’s disastrous showing in the FA Cup later in the evening.
Tottenham: Lloris, Aurier, D Sánchez, Alderweireld, Davies, Sissoko, Winks (Skipp 90), Lucas Moura (Bergwijn 77), Lo Celso (Lamela 77), Son Heung-Min (Carvalho Fernandes 89), Kane.
Substitutes: Vertonghen, R Sessegnon, Foyth, Gazzaniga, Tanganga.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Bennett (Gray 45), Morgan, Evans, Justin, Ndidi (Mendy 70), Tielemans (Praet 70), Thomas, Pérez (Iheanacho 59), Vardy, Barnes (Hirst 83).
Substitutes: Ward, Choudhury, James, Johnson.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
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