0-1 (Defoe 5), 0-2 (Malbranque 83)
- Match reports
- Tue 18 Dec 2007, 12:00AM
- Posted by Tim Oscroft
Pre Match news:
As promised, Joe Hart started in goal but there were two changes further up the field. Javi Garrido was back for Michael Ball, and Elano was back from injury to replace Kelvin Etuhu.
For the visitors there was a rare start for Jermaine Defoe, whose late goal had condemned City to defeat at White Hart Lane.
It was that man Jermaine Defoe who gave the visitors the start they craved when they went ahead after just five minutes. Aaron Lennon found space on City’s left flank to put in a low cross that gave the England striker the easiest of opportunities to tap the ball home from close range.
Lennon eluded Garrido five minutes later to put another testing ball into City’s box, but this time Vedran Corluka was on hand to rob Malbranque in the nick of time.
Then the tone of the game changed on 20 minutes when Spurs went down to 10 men. Steve Bennett showed a straight red card to Didier Zokora after his two-footed tackle on Elano, with Pascal Chimbonda seeing yellow for protesting. Juande Ramos responded by replacing Defoe with Tainio, a decision the striker was clearly unhappy with. Could City make the man advantage count?
The crowd had scarcely settled down when Steed Malbranque was booked for a similar looking challenge on Vedran Corluka. The visitors still had attacking intent, Micah Richards deflecting a Berbatov shot over the bar on 26 minutes.
The game swung City’s way now, Martin Petrov’s deft flick on 33 finding Elano in the area but the Brazilian’s shot rolled agonisingly wide of Robinson’s left post. A minute later Michael Johnson’s chip from the left was just a yard ahead of Bianchi as the Italian closed in on goal.
The referee’s notebook saw more action on 40 minutes, Jermaine Jenas receiving a yellow card for a clear dive in the City area. The Spurs fans, their side a goal up but a man down, vented their fury at Mr Bennett.
Richard Dunne was the first City player to see yellow just before the break, Pascal Chimbonda making the most of the contact when tackled by the Blues’ skipper. Corluka shot over the bar just as the half ended.
City fans thought the Blues had levelled after 10 minutes of the second half, but an outstanding, flying save with one hand from Paul Robinson put Vassell’s header over the bar to everyone’s astonishment.
On the hour mark Geovanni came on for Hamann to great acclaim from City’s supporters, the little Brazilian already a hero simply for scoring the winning goal in the derby.
Petrov went close on 62 minutes, brilliantly bringing the ball down to volley just over the bar. Three minutes later, Dunne muscled his way into the Spurs area before going to ground under challenge from Chimbonda, but the referee waved away City’s penalty claims.
City had most of the possession but could not threaten Robinson until the England keeper made another superb save with 11 minutes left. Bianchi’s header looked to be going over him but the former Leeds man tipped the ball upwards, Chimbonda hooking it away from under the bar as it dropped towards the net.
But with seven minutes left Steed Malbranque broke City hearts by adding Spurs’ second goal. After a quick break out of defence substitute O’Hara fed the one-time City target, who took his time after eluding Dunne to place the ball to Hart’s left and into the bottom corner of the net.
The City keeper did well to keep the score as it was late on, blocking Berbatov when the Bulgarian had gone one-on-one with him in the area.
City could not get close to getting anything back as Spurs ended our hopes of getting to Wembley in this competition for this season.