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Goalkeeper Ortega Is Hero, Haaland Nets 2 As Man City Sink Spurs 0-2

Manchester City moved within one win of a historic fourth successive Premier League title with victory at Tottenham.

Erling Haaland’s second-half double settled a tight encounter in which Spurs’ hopes of a top-four finish ended, and sent Aston Villa into the Champions League for the first time next season.

Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions will lift the trophy again if they beat West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on Sunday (16:00 BST).

Spurs performed with great credit, despite knowing bitter rivals Arsenal would be the beneficiaries of a good result, and it took a superb display from City’s deputy goalkeeper Stefan Ortega to keep them at bay after he replaced Ederson, who took a heavy knock in a collision with Cristian Romero.

Haaland broke the deadlock when he tapped in Kevin de Bruyne’s cross six minutes after the break, Ortega’s heroics then keeping City in front as he saved twice from Dejan Kulusevski before denying Son Heung-min when he was clean through.

City then broke clear in stoppage time to put themselves on the brink of glory, Haaland scoring his 38th goal of the season from the penalty spot after Jeremy Doku was fouled by Pedro Porro.

It sets the stage for Sunday’s season finale, with City now two points ahead of Arsenal and on a seemingly unstoppable surge to become the first club to win the Premier League four consecutive times.

Guardiola’s side were nowhere near their best but click on to automatic pilot when the pressure peaks to get the job done and leave Arsenal, the side in closest pursuit, facing bitter disappointment.

Inevitably it was Haaland and De Bruyne who provided the smooth link to break the deadlock, the striker being left with the simplest of chances.

It was then that deputy keeper Ortega demonstrated his quality once more, particularly with a crucial save from Son who raced clear in the position he relishes.

Ortega made a stop of such significance that Guardiola threw himself on the turf in sheer relief.

Haaland’s penalty wrapped up the three points, leaving City’s supporters in joyous celebration at the final whistle, knowing their side are now in a position they have become so familiar with and one from which they rarely make mistakes.

Arsenal must hope West Ham can somehow produce a shock on Sunday, while the Gunners concentrate on beating Everton at Emirates Stadium.

The strange atmosphere that provided the backdrop to this fixture was exemplified when Tottenham’s fans loudly chanted “Are you watching Arsenal?” after Haaland put Manchester City ahead.

It was a moment when north London’s fierce rivalry reared its head, Spurs’ followers forgetting their own disappointment at missing out on the top four to taunt Arsenal who look like missing out on the title after a superb campaign.

There was no questioning the commitment and effort from Ange Postecoglou’s players from first whistle to last. It was only the barrier provided by Ortega that stopped them from upsetting City’s charge and potentially handing the initiative to Arsenal in a late title twist.

In the end, they were undone by City’s main men Haaland and De Bruyne, as a season that started with so much optimism under Postecoglou ends with them falling short of a Champions League place.

Spurs would have settled for fifth at the start of the season, but there can be no disguising the sense of missed opportunity as a poor final phase of the campaign cost them dearly and meant they missed out to Aston Villa.


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