Phil Foden scored his first Premier League goal as Manchester City beat Tottenham 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium to bounce back from Champions League heartbreak and move a step closer to retaining their domestic crown.
Spurs ended City’s European adventure on Wednesday despite losing 4-3 in a controversial and thrilling encounter at the Etihad, but they were unable to dent the champions’ title defence as Pep Guardiola’s men clinched a measure of revenge.
An entertaining first period saw just the one goal despite several opportunities at both ends, with Foden – making only his second top-flight start – opening his Premier League account in the fifth minute, though City did lose Kevin De Bruyne to injury.
According to Goal.com, Spurs were aggrieved to not be awarded a second-half penalty and that ultimately proved crucial as City held on to the slender victory, taking them back above Liverpool to the Premier League’s summit ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Manchester United.
Although Spurs started by going close through Son Heung-min, City took an early lead as they did in midweek, Foden nodding in after Sergio Aguero headed a Bernardo Silva delivery back across goal.
Spurs responded well as Christian Eriksen tested Ederson and Aymeric Laporte had to make a last-ditch tackle to deny Son, but City looked purposeful in attack and should have won a penalty when Jan Vertonghen sent Silva tumbling in the 20th minute.
City continued to grow as the first half progressed, though they lost De Bruyne to what appeared to be a knee injury just before the break, handing Spurs a boost.
Proceedings were tighter after the interval, though City could count themselves lucky to not concede a spot-kick – Kyle Walker seemingly handling the ball in the box after a Dele Alli flick.
Raheem Sterling should have wrapped things up with 19 minutes to go when directing Leroy Sane’s cross goalwards, but Paulo Gazzaniga somehow kept it out with his right foot.
That ushered in an anxious end for City, with Ederson forced to thwart Lucas Moura, but the hosts dug deep to secure a crucial victory.
Most people identified two matches in City’s run-in that could see them slip-up; Tottenham at home and away to United. They are now past the first hurdle relatively unscathed. It is seemingly only bitter rivals United that stand between City and a second successive Premier League triumph.