Postiga could not contain his delight after scoring his first goal for Spurs
Tottenham 3-1 Man City
Tottenham striker Helder Postiga scored his first goal for the club to help send his side into the Carling Cup quarter-finals with a hard-earned win over Manchester City at White Hart Lane.
Darren Anderton's early strike put Spurs on their way, and Postiga's effort after half an hour looked to have knocked the stuffing out of a lacklustre City side.
But a much-improved second-half performance from the out-of-form visitors was rewarded with a goal from Robbie Fowler on 80 minutes.
Freddie Kanoute - in his first appearance since damaging his ankle in October - scored Spurs' third on the stroke of full time to secure the victory.
Spurs striker Robbie Keane had the first opportunity on just two minutes after chasing Anderton's long ball, but his shot flew wide.
Carling Cup quarter final draw
Aston Villa v Chelsea
Tottenham v Middlesbrough
Bolton v Southampton
West Bromich Albion v Arsenal
Games played weekend 15 Dec
Michael Tarnat set the tone for City's first-half performance with a woeful sixth minute free-kick that, after a trademark long run-up, bounced down a tunnel close to the corner flag.
It did not take long for Spurs to exploit their opponents' fragility as Anderton sent the home side into a deserved lead on nine minutes.
Rohan Ricketts' dangerous ball into the box was not dealt with by City and a poor clearance fell to Anderton 25 yards out from goal.
The former England midfielder controlled well on his thigh before switching the ball onto his left foot and firing a low shot just inside the post and past City keeper Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard.
Defender Gary Doherty came close to doubling the lead on 21 minutes as the ball bounced through to him following a Gus Poyet flick-on, but the Irishman rushed his shot and it went well over the bar.
As Spurs - also in uninspiring form with three defeats in their last four games - were allowed to grow in confidence, decent efforts from Ricketts and Poyet went wide, while a penalty claim from Keane was waved away.
9 mins: Anderton puts Spurs in front with 25-yard left-foot effort
30 mins: Postiga doubles lead after mix-up in City defence
80 mins: Fowler gives City hope with header
90 mins: Kanoute makes the game safe for Spurs
But on 30 minutes Postiga put Spurs firmly in control, breaking his 13-game duck in emphatic fashion in the wake of yet more dreadful City defending.
After another Ricketts cross caused confusion in the City defence, Trevor Sinclair's miskick sent the ball rolling invitingly into the Portugese striker's path and his forceful effort from 10 yards gave Stuhr-Ellegaard no chance.
The relief for the £6.25m signing from Porto was obvious, and he was booked for flinging his shirt into the crowd in his celebrations.
It was 34 minutes before City's first meaningful shot of the match, but midfielder Claudio Reyna's long-range effort was too high.
Joey Barton was also off target from 30 yards as the visitors attempted to up the tempo before half-time but Spurs held on for a commanding lead at the break.
City responded well in the early stages of the second half, and it took an excellent save from Spurs keeper Casey Keller on 48 minutes to keep Reyna's sharp effort out at his near post.
Five minutes later, Doherty deflected Barton's strike onto the roof of the net as City desperately tried to get back into the match.
As Kevin Keegan reorganised into a 3-4-3 formation, his side continued to pepper the Spurs goal as Sinclair, Reyna and Barton all went close.
Spurs looked to have weathered the storm and Keane should have done better after being sent through one-on-one with Distin on 60 minutes.
But with 10 minutes remaining Doherty inexplicably sliced the ball high into the air inside his own penalty area, and Robbie Fowler - almost anonymous up to then - somehow rose above Keller to nod into an empty net.
The goal revitalised City, with second-half substitute Steve McManaman directing their play, and Reyna again went close, just unable to adjust his feet in time as the ball bounced into his path.
In a frantic finish, City could have scored after a comical goal mouth scramble but the ball broke to Spurs' Paul Konchesky and he broke free up the left before crossing for Kanoute to slot home and book Spurs' place in the next round.
Tottenham: Keller, Carr, Doherty, Gardner, Taricco, Anderton,
Poyet, King, Ricketts, Postiga, Keane. Subs: Burch, Kanoute,
Dalmat, Konchesky, Mabizela.
Man City: Stuhr-Ellegaard, Sommeil, Distin, Dunne, Tarnat,
Wright-Phillips, Barton, Reyna, Sinclair, Fowler, Anelka. Subs:
Schmeichel, Wiekens, Sibierski, Macken, McManaman.
Referee: P Durkin (Dorset)