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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 16 January, 2019


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We spent the afternoon looking in on the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City looked to close the gap at the top of the Premier League by taking all three points against Tottenham Hotspur.

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Manchester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Would you like to see the results of the tallies completed so far? Of course you would:

Carlow-Kilkenny – Yes
Yes: 59.2
No: 34

Cork North Central – Yes (just about)
Yes: 50.09
No: 49.91

Cork South Central – Yes
Yes: 59.5 No: 40.5

Donegal North East – No
Yes: 41 No: 59

Donegal South West - No
Yes: 43.53 No: 56.47

Galway East – Yes
Yes: 59
No: 41

Kerry South – Yes
Yes: 57
No: 43

Kildare North – Yes
Yes: 66.3
Yes: 33.7

Limerick - Yes
Yes: 59
No: 41

Limerick City – Yes
Yes: 61
No: 39

Longford-Westmeath – Yes
Yes: 55
No: 45

Sligo-North Leitrim – Yes
Yes: 56
No: 44

Tipperary North – Yes
Yes: 56
No: 44

Tipperary South – Yes
Yes: 54.17 No: 45.83

Waterford – Yes
Yes: 56
No: 44

Good afternoon and welcome to minute-by-minute coverage of Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium.

Javier Hernandez’s heroics  yesterday have opened a five-point gap between Manchester United and their blue neighbours at the top of the Premier League. Can City reel United in and move back above Chelsea into second place — temporarily at least?

The teams are in the tunnel. Kick-off is at 1.30pm.

Here are the teams. David Silva returns for Manchester City, while former City man Emmanuel Adebayor starts up front for Spurs. Lots of friendly handshakes and backslapping as the teams make their way out.

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Toure, Barry, Silva, Tevez, Kolarov, Aguero. Subs: Pantilimon, Maicon, Dzeko, Sinclair, Javi Garcia, Toure, Razak.

Tottenham Hotspur: Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertonghen, Sandro, Huddlestone, Lennon, Bale, Dempsey, Adebayor.  Subs: Lloris, Naughton, Defoe, Dawson, Sigurdsson, Livermore, Carroll.

As it is Armistice Day, we’ll have a moment’s silence before kick-off.

KICK-OFF: We’re up and running. Manchester City are the only unbeaten team in the Premier League — will that still hold in a couple of hours’ time?

Our first moment of farce: Adebayor trots over to the sidelines to have the tape on his socks seen to. Apparently white tape on black socks is a health and safety risk or summat…

A couple of unusual squad selections to mull over as the sides feel each other out. What did Jermain Defoe do to AVB to be dropped this afternoon? And what has happened to Mario Balotelli? All of the noises from the Etihad suggest he’s fit and ready, but he’s not even on the Man City bench.

There’s our first tasty tackle as Clichy arrives a bit late and upends Lennon. Lennon gets up and dusts himself off. Nothing to see here, lads.

Silva tries to find Kolarov with a ball threaded through the Spurs back four. It’s hit too hard and Friedel collects. That might still count as our first shot on target though.

The Spurs back four is pushing quite high up the pitch. With a playmaker as technically gifted as Silva and a striker as pacey as Aguero, there’s a danger of leaving a lot of space in behind for the Argentine to exploit.

Kolarov lines up a free-kick from all of 30 yards out. It’s too far out to really trouble Friedel though and he pats it down before collecting at the second attempt. That’s wasteful by Kolarov.

Vertonghen finds space down the left and puts in a good cross to Adebayor, but Kompany is alive to the danger and clears for a throw.

GOAL! Manchester City 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur (Caulker, 21′) Another set piece, another City goal conceded. Joe Hart won’t want to see this one again and if we’re pointing fingers — which we are — neither should Kolarov or Toure.

Huddlestone puts in a perfect delivery from a free-kick on the right, Caulker darts between Kolarov and Toure and powers a header down into the ground and towards goal. There’s power in the effort, it’s pretty much straight at Hart, but somehow the keeper palms it into the side of the net.

BIG appeal for a penalty from the home fans — and they may have a point. Aguero tries to lift the ball past Gallas inside the box but he’s stopped by the underside of the Frenchman’s outstretched arm. Gallas was very close to the ball but his arm was out and Spurs can count themselves slightly fortunate that Michael Oliver is not pointing to the spot.

Ooof, that’s close from Huddlestone. Adebayor backheels the ball into his path and he whistles his shot just past Hart’s right post.

City look distinctly uncomfortable every time they are asked to defend a Spurs set-piece. Huddlestone sends in another cross for Adebayor but it’s eventually scrambled clear.

Ten minutes to go until half-time. A quick breather as Yaya Toure limps away from a clash of knees with Aaron Lennon. Roberto Mancini and the City faithful look on anxiously.

Spurs gift City two half-chances in a matter of milliseconds. Gallas misjudges the flight of a dropping ball which allows Kolarov to steal in in front of him. He can’t quite control but just as Caulker steps in to clear, he whiffs it to Tevez on the edge of the box. Friedel saves a rather disappointing effort without too much difficulty.

That really should be 1-1. City break at lightning pace as Toure finds Silva who squares to Tevez. The Argentine doesn’t quite catch his shot though and Friedel is able to save down to his left. That’s City’s first real chance and they should have made it count.

It’s all getting a little bit heated as we tick towards the break and referee Michael Oliver pulls Vinny Kompany aside and asks him to have a quiet word in Yaya’s ear. “Stop screaming at me” seems to be the general gist of it.

Zabaleta has been one of City’s main threats in this half and he very nearly signs off on the 45 with an equaliser. Silva finds him with a clever little reverse pass into the box but again it’s saved by Friedel.

HALF TIME: Manchester City 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

SECOND HALF: I have a nice warm bowl of soup in front of me (Chicken and Veg, thank you) and the football is back. We’re all happy now, right?

City start with intent. Toure finds Tevez who lays the ball off to Zabaleta raiding down the right. Vertonghen gets across to put a timely block in — he may have injured himself in the process though.

Unsurprisingly Silva and Aguero are looking to combine as much as possible to work their magic. They try a one-two on the edge of the box with Aguero using his strength to hold off the defence before slipping it back to Silva. The Spaniard’s first touch is disappointing though, for a change.

Oh dear, Aguero. Toure spots space in behind the Spurs back four and plonks one over the top to Aguero, who has stayed onside. As he tries to trap it with the inside of his boot, Aguero loses his footing and the ball trickles harmlessly through to Friedel.

Substitution: City make the afternoon’s first change on 55 minutes as Maicon comes on to replace Nastasic. It looks like City are going to go three at the back with Kolarov and Zabaleta pushing on as wing backs.

Yaya stings Brad Friedel’s palm as he tries to beat the American at his near post from a tight angle. Friedel saves but the ball was already behind so it will be a goal-kick to Spurs.

Gareth Bale works a yard of space 20 yards out. He has a clear sight on Hart’s goal and tries his luck but it’s a yard or two wide without ever really troubling England’s number one.

GOAL! Manchester City 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur (Aguero, 65′) That was coming. It’s a superb counter-attacking move by City and when the ball breaks to Aguero inside the box, he sells Caulker a dummy that the Spurs man buys like it’s the last of the Wibbly Wobbly Wonders on a hot day in Portmarnock. Aguero opens his body and rolls the ball across Friedel and into the far corner.

Game on, Jeff.

When you’re a big man, you’ve a long way to fall — or so they tell me. Yaya clashes with Sandro and comes off the worse, limping gingerly towards the sideline. No quarter asked for or given at the moment. Twenty minutes to play.

Substitution: Edin Dzeko comes on to replace Carlos Tevez for the last 18 minutes or so. In his final contribution before departing, he turns Vertonghen inside out and shoots through the defender’s legs. It whistles past Friedel’s far post.

Gareth Bale looks to go it alone, and very nearly does as the ball keeps bouncing off City’s would-be tacklers and back into his path. He picks up rebounds off the legs of Toure and then Kompany before forcing a save from Joe Hart. Clichy clears.

Adebayor leaves his, emm, forearm in on Zabaleta. Michael Oliver eventually brings play back and books the Spurs man.

Substitution: Dawson comes on for Walker and immediately makes a key contribution to Spurs’ defensive effort, just doing enough to put Dzeko off his header.

A minute or two later, Defoe comes on to replace Adebayor who is given a heart-warming boo from the Etihad crowd.

City are hammering on the door now with two great chances in as many minutes. Firstly, some great work by Aguero to create a chance for Silva, but the Spaniard’s radar is just off as he curls his shot wide of Friedel’s right post.

Then Aguero has a chance to snatch the winner himself, galloping on to a Dzeko throw-in but hammering his shot straight at Friedel who saves with his legs.

GOAL! Manchester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur (Dzeko, 88′) It’s another late, late show by one of Manchester’s giants. The Etihad explodes to life as Edin Dzeko volleys home what will surely be the winning goal.

Dzeko’s finish is powerful, leaving Friedel with no chance, but really this goal is all about the ball from Silva who dinked a perfect pass over the top of the Spurs defence and into Dzeko’s path for the Bosnian to finish. Exquisite.

We’re into the second of five minutes of stoppage time.

City looking to hold on to the ball and wind the clock down. We’re into the final minute.

FULL TIME: Manchester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

That’s it. Not for the first time this season, Edin Dzeko is City’s supersub and Roberto Mancini’s men climb back into second place — for the next couple of hours at least. Chelsea can regain second spot with a win against Liverpool in the afternoon’s late game. We’ll be kicking off liveblog part deux soon so make sure you join us.

Thanks for reading.

About the author:

Niall Kelly