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 Monday, 23 December, 2002, 21:57 GMT
Spurs stun Man City
Manchester City's Steve Howey opens the scoring at Maine Road
City led through Steve Howey but fell away
Manchester City 2-3 Spurs

Manchester City handed Spurs an early Christmas present as Kevin Keegan's side slipped to defeat from a game that they looked to be in complete control of.

After dominating the opening half hour, City deservedly took the lead through a Steve Howey header, but then poor marking allowed Chris Perry to pull Spurs level from a Christian Ziege corner.

They came out of the traps really quick and we might have found ourselves behind early

Tottenham manager Glenn Hoddle

Soon after the interval the visitors took the lead with a well worked goal as Robbie Keane set up Simon Davies to head home.

Keegan introduced Ali Benarbia but City were never again to regain their earlier fluency and a Gus Poyet header from another Ziege corner rubbed salt into the home side's wounds.

Soon afterwards the German international was sent off by referee Jeff Winter for two yellow cards - bizarrely both times for kicking the ball away.

In stoppage time a wonderful curling shot from Benarbia gave the score a degree of respectability.

Hoddle's side had won just eight points this season away from home before this game and early on the uncertain nature of their display suggested another fruitless away day.

Key moments
29 mins: Howey opens the scoring
38 mins: Perry levels the scores
48 mins: Davies gives Spurs the lead
84 mins: Poyet extends Spurs' advantage
86 mins: Ziege is dismissed
90 mins: Benarbia pulls a goal back

During that opening quarter of an hour, Kasey Keller also had to make three saves - the pick from Nicolas Anelka's rising shot - as City searched for the opening goal.

City eventually took the lead through Howey's clever backward header from a Kevin Horlock free-kick after Steffen Freund fouled Berkovic.

Having established that advantage, City lost it through some poor defending.

First Perry arrived unmarked to send Ziege's corner past Peter Schmeichel.

Spurs' Simon Davies celebrates his goal against Manchester City
Spurs built on their performance against Arsenal

Just before the interval another error - this time by Richard Dunne - gave the ball to Ziege, but his venomous shot was superbly pushed away by Peter Schmeichel.

If Spurs' first goal capitalised on poor defending, the second owed everything to some slick passing and movement.

Anderton touched the ball to Davies, whose first time pass sent Keane scampering away into space.

Keane beat Dunne with a jink of the hips and his far post cross was bravely converted by Davies.

City were in disarray and Schmeichel's delay in clearing the ball saw it ricochet off Steffen Iversen and then dribble past the post.

If we had a bit more determination to get on the end of things, the result may have been different

Man City manager Kevin Keegan
Poyet further extended Spurs lead from another Ziege corner, but the German was then sent off.

At times Spurs rode their luck, particularly when Berkovic's volley hit the post and Keller brilliantly saved from Anelka, but Hoddle side's are now in seventh place, eight points behind leaders Arsenal.

Benarbia's goal demonstrated just how good City can be on the attack.

If only Keegan's defence could match that prowess.


Man City: Schmeichel, Dunne, Howey, Distin, Jihai (Benarbia 58), Foe, Horlock, Tiatto, Goater (Huckerby 84), Anelka, Berkovic.
Subs Not Used: Nash, Jensen, Vuoso.

Booked: Tiatto, Foe.

Tottenham: Keller, Perry, Richards, King, Carr, Davies, Freund, Anderton, Ziege, Keane, Iversen (Poyet 71).
Subs Not Used: Sullivan, Bunjevcevic, Thatcher, Clemence.

Sent Off: Ziege (86).

Booked: Freund, Ziege, Perry.

Attendance: 34,563.

Referee: J Winter (Cleveland).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Sport's John Murray
"A bitterly disappointing defeat for City"
 Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle
"Players have to take some responsibility"
 Man City boss Kevin Keegan
"We weren't good enough"
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