Premier League - Spurs seal fourth place

Eurosport - Wed, 05 May 22:04:00 2010

Tottenham Hotspur will be playing Champions League football next season after they beat Manchester City 1-0 at Eastlands to seal fourth place in the Premier League.

2009-10 Premier League Tottenham Hotspur's Michael Dawson (top L) celebrates at the final whistle after beating Manchester City 0-1 with Tottenham Hotspur's Danny Rose - 0

Peter Crouch's header in the final 10 minutes means Spurs are now four points ahead of City, their rivals for the much-coveted place in the second qualifying round, going into the final day of the season.

With eight minutes remaining, Crouch was in the right place at the right time to nod Marton Fulop's save into the empty net to send Spurs fans into raptures and City supporters into despair.

It will be the North London side's first European Cup appearance since the 1961-62 season, when they went on to reach the semi-finals.

The win also means that, should they win at Burnley and Arsenal lose at home to Fulham on Sunday, they will finish above their bitter local rivals for the first time in 15 years.

City, one of the richest clubs in the world, will find a place in the Europa League cold comfort next season.

Despite Spurs arriving in Manchester needing a win to see them through, City knew they still had a chance if they won. Buoyed by their excellent home record this season, it was the home side who started the brighter, but Spurs had the better chances to take the lead. After riding out plenty of early pressure orchestrated by Craig Bellamy and Adam Johnson, Spurs rattled the frame of the goal on 18 minutes when Crouch headed Gareth Bale's corner against the far post.

Just three minutes later the visitors had the ball in the back of the net from another corner, perhaps not surprising considering Spurs had Crouch, Ledley King, Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul in the area for every attacking set-piece.

It was man of the match King, who passed a late fitness test to achieve the rare feat of starting two matches in a week, who rose to head past Fulop, but referee Steve Bennett disallowed the goal for the Spurs skipper pushing down on his marker, Gareth Barry.

However, City dominated much of the play and Heurelho Gomes, another pre-match doubt for Spurs, was called upon to make several saves.

The Brazilian had to come off his line to smother a strike from Tevez after the Argentine forward wriggled his way into the box after just seven minutes and, as City began to turn the screw once more, reacted well to parry Johnson's strike from outside the box round the post.

Johnson, who once again did his England prospects no harm, almost forced a goal when Bale turned a cross towards his own goal, but again Gomes made the save.

Bale, scorer of vital goals in Tottenham's recent wins over Arsenal and Chelsea, almost got on the scoresheet again when Crouch nodded Aaron Lennon's cross down to him, but the Welshman's crisply-struck half-volley flashed wide.

Despite the game opening up after the break, real chances were even harder to come by for both sides. Johnson's cross was knocked back across goal but Dawson hacked the ball away on the line.

Jermain Defoe had struggled to get into the match, but he was put through on gaol by Bale and toe-poked an effort across goal that Fulop turned wide.

With 20 minutes remaining the play Defoe and Crouch both went close when Bale's teasing low cross flashed in front of the pair as they stretched to meet it.

Crouch should have put Spurs ahead as the match entered the last quarter of an hour. Luka Modric found Bale with a glorious pass with the outside of his boot, and another decent cross from the Welshman was met by Crouch's head, but the England striker nodded it down right at the feet of Fulop.

Fortunately for Crouch and Spurs he atoned for his miss soon afterwards when Kaboul's cross took a deflection, forcing Fulop to react quickly and palm the ball towards Crouch, who steered his header right into the top corner from close range.

It could have been two for Spurs in injury time when substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko fired a first-time strike that forced a decent save from the Hungarian keeper.

City, whether Roberto Mancini stays at the helm or not, have the financial backing to threaten the top clubs in years to come, but this season it is Spurs who can say they are a Champions League club.

Tony Mabert / Eurosport

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