Manchester City come from behind to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1
London: Manchester City moved within two points of league leaders Manchester United after securing a dramatic late 2-1 victory over Tottenham.
Edin Dzeko enhanced his reputation as the champions` super-sub-in-chief with a well-taken winner on the 86th minute, adding to Sergio Aguero`s equaliser that had pulled the hosts back following Steven Caulker`s headed opener.
Roberto Mancini welcomed David Silva back to the side after he sustained a hamstring strain on international duty in September, while Sandro returned for the visitors and Emmanuel Adebayor replaced Jermain Defoe despite the Englishman`s hat-trick against Maribor on Thursday.
The hosts started in impressive fashion, with Spurs unable to break out of their own half under a blanket of City pressure in the opening quarter of an hour, though sloppy passes from Silva and Gareth Barry and a fine tackle from Kyle Walker on Aguero left the champions frustrated, unable to capitalise on their early endeavour.
Their profligacy was to be punished shortly after, as the home side`s alarming inability to defend set-pieces was aired yet again, with Caulker nodding past Joe Hart after having found himself free in the area to connect with Huddlestone`s superb whipped free kick from the right flank.
Mancini`s side materialised a response of sorts and should have arguably had a penalty as William Gallas blocked Aguero`s turn in the area with his arm but referee Michael Oliver waved away the Argentine`s desperate protests on the 25th minute.
Further controversy was to come for Oliver, as Huddlestone body-checked Pablo Zabaleta`s run in the area as the Argentine chased down Silva`s neat through-ball. The referee remained unmoved again and, as Carlos Tevez`s scuffed effort rolled into the arms of Brad Friedel shortly before half-time, Mancini and his side exuded frustration.
It was to linger into the second half, as an offside flag halted Tevez as he looked to latch on to Gael Clichy`s lofted ball over the top of an increasingly shaky Spurs defence and Aguero fluffed his lines with the goal at his mercy 10 minutes after the restart following some fine football from Yaya Toure.
But as the hour mark passed and, as City continued to probe, the visitors retreated, allowed the hosts possession and were duly punished, with Caulker knocking the ball into Aguero`s path and the Argentine calmly slotting past Friedel for his third Premier League goal this season.
The goal reignited Tottenham and Gareth Bale`s 73rd-minute strike forced Joe Hart into a sublime reaction save to keep the scores level as the play stretched with nether side settling for a point.
It was Mancini`s side, however, who looked the more likely as Edin Dzeko replaced Tevez for the final quarter of an hour and City pressed for a winner, no doubt aware of the widening gap between themselves and league leaders Manchester United.
Redemption was to come from the likeliest of sources, as Dzeko latched on to Silva`s brilliant ball to smash home on the 86th minute and move City within two points of their neighbours, to end a day that had for so long delivered immense frustration, ultimately, with sheer relief.