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Match Reports
Spurs v Man City, 03.12.03

CARLING CUP 4TH ROUND
WEDNESDAY 3RD DECEMBER, 2003
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (2) MANCHESTER CITY 1 (0)

Spurs scorers:-
Anderton, 9
Postiga, 29
Kanoute, 90

Man City scorer:-
Fowler, 80

Referee:- Paul Durkin

Attendance:- 31,727

Teams:-
Spurs (4-4-2):- Keller; Carr (Capt..), Doherty, Gardner, Taricco; Anderton, King, Poyet (sub Dalmat, 84), Ricketts (sub Konchesky, 69); Postiga (sub Kanoute, 76), Keane

Subs not used:- Burch; Mabizela

Booked:- Postiga (Goal Celebration)

Man City (4-4-2):- Stuhr-Ellegard; Sommeil, Dunne, Distin (Capt..), Tarnat (sub McManaman, 70); Wright-Phillips, Barton, Reyna, Sinclair; Anelka, Fowler

Subs not used:- C. Schmeichel; Wiekens; Sibierski; Macken

Booked:- Wright-Phillips (Holding up play), Anelka (late on Keller)

Spurs ran out deserving winners of this entertaining 4th Round Carling Cup tie, with a performance as good as any they have given this season. The team played with a spirit, vigour and skill rarely seen this term, against a City side that had so little to offer in the first half. The visitors looked as if they had something to play for early in the second half, but Spurs bounced back, after some charity from Gary Doherty, before Fredi Kanoute (making a late substitute appearance) restored the two-goal advantage with an injury time goal.

David Pleat made 3 changes to the line-up, with Dean Richards being rested (presumably desperate to play against his old team on Saturday) in favour of Gary Doherty, Rohan Ricketts getting a welcome start (and the biggest cheer when the teams were announced), plus Gus Poyet returning to the fold. Fredi Kanoute also earnt great cheers as he was announced amongst the subs. City had several absentees through a mixture of injury and rest. 20 year old keeper Kevin Stuhr-Ellegard replaced Seaman, and a certain Caspar Schmeichel (Peter's son?) was on the bench. Wanchope was out, and Robbie Fowler had a rare outing alongside Tottenham boo-boy, Nicolas Anelka. There was of course another target for the Spurs fans - Sean Wright-Phillips, and he had a difficult night, struggling to stay on his feet for a start, and then often being out-played by Mauricio Taricco.

For a change it was the opposition midfield that looked very thin on the ground, as Poyet looked busy and sprightly (yes - sprightly!) in the middle beside Ledley King playing with real confidence in the holding role. Anderton had a great game, winning the Spurs ((ON)) man of the match vote, often prompting Spurs attacks with long range balls. Postiga famously broke his scoring duck - more of that later! As early as the first minute, Anderton sent Keane away with an early ball over the defence. Robbie took the ball to a difficult angle on the right but hit a decent shot that was always behind the goal. Doherty then did well to shield the ball from Anelka, who was soon sent away by a ball from Fowler inside his won half. Kasey Keller was out to the edge of his area sharply to deny Anelka the chance on goal.

That was almost the sum of City's first half efforts, as they were then reduced to occasional long shots that gave Keller no concern. Spurs were playing with pace, and took the lead in the ninth minute following a fast build up for a change, rather than the too-often telegraphed moves. Taricco and Ricketts were behind the move that started on the left. Ricketts' cross was half-cleared to Anderton outside the area on the right hand side. Darren slipped the ball to his left and directed a low left-foot shot to the far right of Stuhr-Ellegard's goal. 1-0! Soon after the re-start, Postiga was feeding Ledley from the left. Ledley tried a shot similar to that of Anderton, from the other side of the area, but hit the ball wide.

After 21 minutes, Robbie Keane was brought down on the edge of the area. Anderton's free kick was parried and in the ensuing melee, Gary Doherty hit a shot from close range that was blocked in front of the keeper. Five minutes later, the ball was again only half-cleared by the unconvincing City defence. Postiga tried a long shot that the young keeper could not hold. Robbie Keane was behind the defence and seemed to have a one on one chance. It also looked like he was pulled down, but Paul Durkin waved the appeals away.

The long-awaited goal for Helder Postiga came in the 29th minute. Ricketts' cross from the left was again not dealt with properly and presented to Postiga on the 18 yard line. He took his chance with a well-aimed right foot shot, just inside the keeper's left post. Postiga raced towards the South Stand crowd, and ripped off his shot for a prolonged celebration that earnt him a booking, which was no doubt worthwhile to the young man, who is loved by the Spurs crowd. Clearly a lot of faith has been shown in Postiga, and it was rewarded tonight with the goal, and plenty of effort in all parts of the field.

Spurs eased off a little and just before half time, City had their best chance, when Ledley made a great tackle in the area against Reyna. The ball ran to Sinclair whose shot was saved by Keller for a corner. After the break, City at last showed some endeavour, and Spurs were on the back foot for the first ten to fifteen minutes. Sinclair fed the ball to Reyna, whose shot was pushed out by Keller for a corner. On 56 minutes, Spurs managed to deflect a shot away from goal, as Doherty stuck a foot out to Barton's effort. Then Sinclair's cross from the left was headed back into the goalmouth, and Reyna again had a shot saved. Rohan Ricketts lost possession badly inside his own area to present Barton with a chance. The City youngster fired across the goal and wide.

At last Spurs showed some of the spirit they had displayed earlier, as after 62 minutes, Anderton's cross was only half-cleared and Keane tried a chip shot that was tipped over by Stuhr-Ellegard for a corner. From the corner, Ricketts passed inside to Ledley, who was allowed time to turn first left, then right, before finally hitting his shot, that went wide. Poyet and Keane found themselves in the area, and Robbie was just about to pull the trigger, when Dunne managed to get a foot in the way. As the game progressed, Robbie worked the City line left and right relentlessly, staying onside most of the time, ready to pounce upon Anderton's probing balls.

Ricketts went off to a great ovation, (apparently suffering from cramp)to be replaced by Konchesky, and then McManaman replaced Tarnat for the visitors. After 72 minutes, Robbie Keane tried another flighted shot - this time from 25 yards - which was just over the bar. There was a funny moment, when Barton's power drive hit Fowler, to go safely out of play. Fowler was knocked to the ground by the power of the shot, and was also given offside for his trouble! Kanoute made his entrance for Postiga after 76 minutes. With 10 minutes of the game left, Spurs (chiefly Gary Doherty) presented Fowler with a goal. There was clearly a mix-up between Keller and Doherty, and a nothing ball into the area was headed high straight up by the centre-back, to be accepted as a gift by Fowler when it returned to earth for a simple header.

It was beginning to look like panic stations. City justifiably smelt an equaliser, and the game became end to end with breakneck excitement at times. Yet another great long ball from Anderton reached Keane whose shot was blocked and went to Kanoute. Fredi hit a powerful drive into Distin's chest. At least that's what Mr. Durkin indicated when the Spurs arms went up for a penalty. There was some desperate defending by Spurs at times, and Poyet's replacement, Dalmat did not always steady the nerves with his one good trick, then one mistake routine. Kanoute nailed the tie in the last minute of added time, after Konchesky had led the attack down the left, tried to pass to Robbie Keane, who could not quite make contact. However, the ball ran to Fredi, who slapped the ball home in similar style to his late winner in his last game at Leicester, for his 8th goal in 8 starts for Spurs.

Spurs must look forward to Saturday's game at home to Wolves with some justified confidence. They will similarly look forward to the home tie against Middlesbrough in two weeks' time in the 5th Round of this tournament.

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