Premier League - City clinch top-four finish
The millions invested in Manchester City finally began to pay off as they sealed a place in next season's Champions League with a 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Eastlands, courtesy of Peter Crouch's first-half own-goal.
Victory for the hosts at a bouncing City of Manchester Stadium sees them open up an unassailable seven-point advantage over fifth-placed Liverpool with just two games remaining.
Even a third-placed finish - and automatic qualification for the group stages of the exclusive competition - remains a possibility as Robert Mancini's side moved to within two points of misfiring Arsenal.
The win was doubly sweet for City, considering their hopes of reaching this season's Champions League were dashed by Spurs in the corresponding fixture 12 months ago, when Crouch's only goal of the game - at the right end - sent the North London club through to Europe's premier club competition at City's expense.
This latest result ends Spurs dreams of a repeat feat and they remain in sixth place, nine points behind City.
City were boosted by the return of Carlos Tevez to the bench, and his eventual introduction on 83 minutes gives the previously hamstrung Argentine a shouting chance of featuring in the weekend's FA Cup final against Stoke.
Potter boss Tony Pulis was in the crowd ahead of the Wembley showpiece and, with Mario Balotelli was confined to the bench, he saw Tevez's replacement Edin Dzeko go close to opening the scoring after just 10 minutes.
The big Bosnian was only denied by a fantastic save by stand-in keeper Carlo Cudicini - in the side for the injured Heurelho Gomes - after some clever build-up play from City which ended with David Silva's pull-back from the by-line.
The skilful Silva was at the heart of City's early running, the Spaniard's exemplary touch and vision making him stand out in midfield, yet it was Spurs who should have broken the deadlock on 28 minutes.
Luka Modric will not get many better chances to score than when he was found by Aaron Lennon in space on the edge of the box and with time to pick his spot, but his sidefooted effort flew inches wide of the upright.
The little Croatian was to rue his profligacy when just two minutes later City took the lead, Crouch turning from goalscoring a year ago to goalscoring villain as he put past his own keeper.
In fairness to Crouch, there was little he could do when Milner's fiercely-driven cross from a short corner reached him at the near post, and the ball pinged off him, past Cudicini and into the back of the net.
At the other end, Joe Hart had had little to do in between the sticks for City, although the England keeper proved his worth with a fine save to deny Steven Pienaar a downward header just after the break.
That was all Spurs could muster and, despite dominating large periods of the second half in terms of possession, goalscoring opportunities were few and far between.
Jermain Defoe was slung on for Crouch with 13 minutes remaining, but with Spurs effectively requiring two goals to keep alive their hopes of reaching the Champions League - such is City's far superior goal difference - it proved too tall an order.
There was still time for Tevez to make a decisive impact from the bench, but when the Argentine striker was sent clean through deep in stoppage time, he was foiled by Cudicini and failed to provide a fitting cherry to sit atop City's cake.
He had done enough though to prove he is fit and in contention for a place in the side at Wembley this weekend, when City's enormous expenditure could be further vindicated.