Manchester City players celebrate after scoring a goal against Tottenham in the Premier League. Getty Images
Defending Premier League champions, Manchester City, pulled off a dizzying second-half comeback to beat Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night.
Goals after the break from City’s newly-acquired Argentine, Julian Alvarez, the Norwegian Erling Haaland and a Riyad Mahrez brace nullified strikes from Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal that put Tottenham up at the end of the first half.
Ahead of the game, City boss, Pep Guardiola, called this a must-win affair for his side, which came in sitting second in the Premier League and having lost twice in a row following Saturday’s controversial 2-1 defeat to Manchester United and an exit from the Carabao Cup at the hands of Southampton on January 11. Despite playing at home, no-one expected bottom-side Southampton (or the Saints as they are fondly called by their fans) to do it against Guardiola’s lads, but the hosts came away 2-0 winners.
In Thursday night’s EPL clash, Guardiola would be left disappointed by the end of a first half that saw City create several chances through Haaland only for Kulusevski and Emerson to strike just before the break to stake Tottenham to a 2-0 lead after 45 minutes.
The mood changed quickly in the City dugout right from the start of the second half, as City came roaring out of the dressing room and drew level with goals from Alvarez and Haaland before the 55-minute mark.
The hosts took a deserved lead soon after with some nifty work by the Algeria international, Mahrez, on the right flank, as the the former Leicester star settled a switched ball from the left with a clever touch, raced into the area and beat keeper, Hugo Lloris, at his near post from a tight angle to make it 3-2.
Mahrez then iced the game with his second shortly before full-time, fending off a defender nipping at his heels and beating Lloris with a deft chip to score his 10th goal of the season for City.
The result has helped City cut Arsenal’s lead at the top of the table to five points, while Antonio Conte’s struggling Spurs will be left wondering what might have been as they slipped five points behind fourth-placed Newcastle United for the final Champions League place.
Writing by Abdullahi Lamino; Editing by Tony Okerafor