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Sunday 11 November 2012

Super-sub Dzeko completes 'huge win' for City

Manchester City striker comes off the bench to claim late winner for champions

Steven Caulker headed Tottenham into the lead but City fought back

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini called the 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur “a huge win” after his team had to fight from a goal down and needed an 87th-minute winner from Edin Dzeko to maintain the pressure on Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United.

Steven Caulker had sent Spurs into a half-time lead as he took advantage of slack marking to head in from a free-kick. But Sergio Aguero equalised on 65 minutes and Dzeko, on as a substitute, completed the fightback for the champions with a neat finish from David Silva’s lofted pass.

"In the second half the fans were like the 12th player on the pitch"
Roberto Mancini

"It was a huge win because it was a difficult moment," Mancini told the BBC. "We had a lot of important players injured and today I saw the same spirit from the players that I saw last year.

"In the first half we played well. Tottenham, I didn't feel, had chances apart from a couple of set-pieces. We need to improve there. But after they scored first we played fantastic.

"Today we deserved to win this game, the players were fantastic. The supporters were fantastic and in the second half they were like the 12th player on the pitch.

"The Premier League season is long and difficult - there are a lot of teams who can fight for the title, Tottenham can come back and fight for it, as can Arsenal. We made some mistakes in the Champions League but in football you can never say never."

He also had words for his match-winner Dzeko, who has scored seven goals this season, six of them after coming off the bench.

"He is not happy,” Mancini said. "A player who is happy on the bench does not exist. We had three important strikers today, last year we won the championship because of goals from our strikers, today we missed some goals from them but hopefully they can score again soon."

Tottenham head coach Andre Villas-Boas saw Aguero’s equaliser on the break and Kyle Walker’s withdrawal as the key moments to swing the match.

“We were strong and put them on the back foot,” he said. “We gave them a run for their money but could not hold on in the end."

Villas-Boas stated that Kyle Walker will be assessed by the England medical staff after experiencing a tight hamstring and could be a doubt for the friendly against Sweden on Wednesday.

"We didn't want to risk losing him for three or four weeks so we held on for a couple of minutes after he gave the sign but after that we decided to change," said Villas-Boas.

"I am not sure about England. Our medical department is going to contact the FA. Then it is up to them. They will make a decision."

For more on the match, including minute-by-minute updates, statistics and the best photos go to Matchday Live.

Manchester City 2-1 Tottenham | #MCITOT | Matchday Live >>

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Key Points

  • Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur to maintain their unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League
  • Tottenham led through Steven Caulker's first-half header
  • City fought back through goals from Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko