By William Wood | In Match Reports - Away Games
Manchester City were beaten 2-1 by Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, a result that ended the Eastlander’s chances of European football next term.
Spurs have been much-improved under Harry Redknapp, and it was the hosts who looked most likely to break the deadlock early on as the two teams looked to boost their bid for Europa League qualification.
Luka Modric threaded through a ball to Jermain Defoe with just two minutes on the clock, and while the England striker found the back of the net, he was judged to be offside.
The lively forward went close to opening the scoring once again moments later, cutting inside and blasting towards goal, only to see Shay Given get down low to keep the ball out.
City were prompted into action, enjoying a solid spell of possession, but they were reminded of the threat that a rejuvenated Spurs side possess when Roman Pavlyuchenko drilled towards the left-hand side of Given’s goal, but the Republic of Ireland stopper was in fine form and able to make the save.
Spurs skipper Ledley King went close to putting a difficult week behind him as he connected with Tom Huddlestone’s corner, but needless to say Given was on hand to push the ball clear from close range.
However, the North Londoners eventually found a way through, Defoe getting goal-side of Richard Dunne and tapping home after 29 minutes, much to Hughes’ dismay.
They could have been two-up had Robbie Keane been alert to the cross after Dunne miscued, though the rhythm of the game was broken up as Defoe and Nedum Onouha competed for the ball and the former inadvertently took the linesman out with him.
Hughes had clearly reprimanded his side during the interval, and City returned with a fresh approach to the second-half, pinging the ball about though struggling to penetrate Spurs’ defence.
Their efforts were justly rewarded after 65 minutes, Valeri Bojinov volleying home from 15 yards after some nice interchange between Stephen Ireland and Benjani Mwaruwari.
However, as City looked to have kept alive their hopes for the time being, Micah and Fraizer Campbell collided, and the referee harshly adjudged that the 20-year old had brought down his man.
Keane converted the subsequent spot-kick, and Benjani spurned a free-header from 4-yards out to level the score with a minute of normal time remaining.
That was to be the last chance for City to salvage a draw, and Hughes must now turn his attentions to a summer of reshuffling as the City of Manchester outfit look to mount a serious charge up the Premier League table.