Haaland brace puts Manchester City on the verge of historic triumph

Manchester City
Manchester City players celebrate after the match. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

London: Erling Haaland's double put Manchester City within touching distance of an unprecedented fourth successive Premier League title as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 away on Tuesday.

The Norwegian tapped home his side's opener early in the second half and settled City's nerves in stoppage time when he blasted home a penalty for his 27th league goal of the season.

City had failed to earn a point or score a goal in their first four league visits to Tottenham's new stadium but ended that jinx in timely fashion to the joy of their supporters.

Pep Guardiola's City have 88 points to Arsenal's 86 and will be guaranteed to make history if they beat West Ham United at home on Sunday when Arsenal host Everton.

It was far from a vintage City performance and they almost conceded an equaliser to Son Heung-min late on, just before Haaland made sure they kept their destiny in their own hands.

Defeat ended Tottenham's slim hopes of finishing fourth and qualifying for the Champions League, although it was a result welcomed by some sections of their fans who were loath to see their team offer up a huge title gift to arch-rivals Arsenal.

Some Tottenham fans even indulged in the Poznan, which is a trademark of City's fans, while chants of "Are You Watching Arsenal" echoed around the stadium in the latter stages.

The result also meant Aston Villa have qualified for Champions League for the first time since the 1982-83 season and for the first time ever since the competition was rebranded from the European Cup.

City are now unbeaten in 22 league games and have again showed they are the masters of pacing a title chase.

Yet they were strangely lethargic in the first half and were given an early fright when Ederson, who was later forced off after a blow to the head, had to tip Rodrigo Bentancur's fierce rising drive over the crossbar.

City were stuck in second gear and their best chance before the interval was courtesy of a horrible clearance by Spurs midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg that fell for Phil Foden but his volley was superbly saved by Guglielmo Vicario.

Such was the tepid nature of the first half that for the first time this season in the Premier League there was not time added on at the end of the first half.

City might have begun to fear that their Tottenham curse was striking again when Kevin De Bruyne's snap shot was superbly saved by Vicario just after the interval but they could finally breathe a sigh of relief soon afterwards.

De Bruyne was just onside as he was played in on the right and his low pass was tapped in by Haaland.

Still City looked edgy though and their hearts were in their mouths as the clock ticked down when Son seized on a mistake and ran through with only Stefan Ortega to beat but the substitute keeper made a superb save.

And when Jeremy Doku was fouled by Pedro Porro and Haaland rammed home his penalty, the away fans could finally relax.

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