FA Cup: Late Nathan Ake strike ends Man City hoodoo at Spurs
Nathan Ake’s 88th-minute tap-in helped Manchester City end their Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hoodoo and progress into the FA Cup fifth round after a 1-0 away victory.
Pep Guardiola’s side had failed to score in their previous five visits to Spurs’ home and that unwanted record looked set to extend until Ake bundled home from close range after Guglielmo Vicario flapped at Kevin De Bruyne’s corner.
All eyes had been on De Bruyne and Tottenham playmaker James Maddison after a lacklustre first half and while the former helped break the deadlock, it was an uncharacteristic City goal that fired them to a seventh straight win.
Ange Postecoglou’s team could have little complaints and this cup loss means the club’s trophy drought will almost certainly extend into a 17th year.
These teams had played out a 3-3 draw at the Etihad last month, but both the club’s respective top goalscorers Son Heung-min and Erling Haaland were absent while playmakers Maddison and De Bruyne had to be content with a place on the bench.
City’s notoriously poor record at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was well documented and Guardiola’s side almost broke their duck in the fifth minute when Oscar Bobb tapped home on the goal line.
Bobb pounced after Vicario had denied Phil Foden from close range, but City youngster Bobb was adjudged by VAR to be marginally offside and it remained 0-0.
The visitors continued to seek a maiden goal at this venue and after Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic had efforts blocked, Guardiola let out his first sign of exasperation when Josko Gvardiol sent a cross into the stand.
Spurs had barely had a kick but were given some unexpected respite when a three-minute delay to proceedings occurred due to one of Paul Tierney’s assistant referees having an issue with his technical equipment.
When play did get back underway, normal service resumed and a succession of last-ditch defending denied City in the 41st minute with Bobb’s left-footed strike thwarted by Pedro Porro’s block.
Foden was the next to try his luck but fired wide from Bobb’s cutback to ensure it was goalless at the break.
Micky van de Ven made a vital intervention straight after half-time when Julian Alvarez had a sight of goal before Tottenham finally caused a moment of panic for the away side.
Timo Werner sent Brennan Johnson through on goal, but City’s backup goalkeeper Stefan Ortega was out quick to dive at the feet of the forward.
It reenergised the home crowd although Guardiola turned to his ace in the pack with 65 minutes on the clock when De Bruyne was introduced.
Postecoglou followed suit eight minutes later and Maddison earned a hero’s reception on his return, but his first involvement was to bundle Silva to the floor in the penalty area.
Referee Tierney waved away appeals before Spurs and in particular Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg received two slices of luck.
A Hojbjerg air kick allowed Silva a chance but he fired straight at Vicario before Tottenham’s Danish midfielder gave away possession to Foden.
Foden teed up De Bruyne, who inexplicably curled wide from 16 yards and when Vicario saved from Jeremy Doku moments later, a replay was on the cards.
Ake had other ideas and when Vicario flapped at De Bruyne’s corner, the City defender was on hand to poke home and send the holders through to the last 16.