0-1 (Mido 30), 0-2 (Keane 83)
- Match reports
- 04 January 2006 00:00
- Posted by Leon Collins
City slipped to a disappointing two-goal defeat on a chilly night in Manchester. Mido made the most of a Distin mistake to put Spurs a goal up after 30 minutes, and Robbie Keane's volley with seven minutes left put the final nail in the coffin.
City lacked nothing in endeavour but struggled to create many openings, and they will be looking to the FA Cup tie at home to Scunthorpe to give them a boost ahead of the Manchester derby on the 14th.
Team news: Ben Thatcher returned to face his old club, replacing Stephen Jordan, and the only other change from Middlesbrough was Stephen Ireland for Antoine Sibierski. Robbie Fowler was on the bench.
For the visitors, Brown came in for the injured Davids and Lennon replaced Tainio.
City went straight at Spurs from the kick-off, with Andy Cole getting in a shot on the turn within 30 seconds, but the ball was well over the bar.
Both teams began to knock the ball around with confidence, and the fans looked set to see an entertaining game.
On 16 minutes Sun lost possession in his own half and the ball fell to the dangerous Mido, but Dunne timed his tackle prefectly in the box to concede a corner, from which Spurs created nothing.
Seven minutes later Carrick fired in a shot from a Lee through-ball, but James was untroubled as the ball passed high and wide of his left hand post.
Sinclair livened proceedings up two minutes later when he outfoxed Carrick on the right of the box, but the Spurs man blocked him after Sinclair had got the better of him to concede a free kick. Ireland's cross was headed over by Dawson, and from the corner Dunne connected powerfully with his forehead, but the ball went some distance over the bar.
But on the half hour disaster struck for City. Distin tried to shepherd the ball dead for a goal-kick, but Lennon stole in behind him to cross to Mido, who's left-footed shot deflected off Dunne to leave James with no chance.
City looked livlier following the goal, with Cole nearly stealing in while Spurs looked for offside. Carrick hauled down Ireland on 40 minutes as the youngster homed in on goal, and Barton's fierce free kick slammed into Mido's head to deflect away from danger, although Blues fans thought the goalscorer made a meal of his 'injury'.
With a minute added on for stoppages, Barton whipped another free kick round the wall, but Robinson watched the ball go round his left post.
Half time City 0-1 Spurs
Both sides were unchanged after the break, and City looked purposeful in the first few minutes, coming closest when Sun chipped over for Cole but the ball ran on just too far for the striker.
Seven minutes in, Lennon found Keane in a lot of space on the edge of the area but his shot lacked conviction and drifted wide. A minute later, Stuart Pearce replaced Onuoha with David Sommeil.
Spurs pressurised City for the next phase of play, with the Blues unable to break out of their own half for a while. Sinclair also collected the first card of the match for a foul after 56 minutes.
On the hour City had claims for a penalty waved away after a Sinclair cross touched Gardner's arm in the area. The Blues persisted though, and eventually Thatcher shot with his left foot from outside the area only to see the ball go over Robinson's bar.
City were stepping it up now and had a flurry of corners, and had Cole harshly called offside after 65 minutes.
Barton raced to the corner two minutes later to retrieve what looked like a lost cause. He cut back to the front of the box but Keane blocked his shot.
On 69 Cole had a chance, collecting after some aerial ping-pong from a corner, but his volley on the turn was a couple of yards over the bar.
Croft and Wright-Phillips replaced Ireland and Vassell after 70 minutes.
Michael Brown was booked on 72 for a foul on Barton that incensed the City fans, while at the same time Y-P Lee was stretchered off after catching Sommeil's foot in the rebound from Brown's tackle on Barton.
With 12 minutes left, Brown cut in from his left wing to smack a firm shot across David James, but the score stayed intact as the ball flew wide.
Thatcher collected a yellow card on 81 minutes for fouling Lennon.
Wright-Phillips went close just after, whistling a shot across Robinson that was just inches wide.
But on 82 minutes Spurs looked to have sealed the match with a goal from Robbie Keane. Robinson's kick was knocked on by Mido into Keane's path, and the Irishman's shot flew into the corner to again leave James with no chance whatsoever.
The Blues and their fans were utterly deflated by the goal, and though they pressed desperately to gain something from the game Spurs were able to fend their attacks off with ease. Cole made Robinson work in injury time from close range, but the 'keeper got down well.