Keane's late strike sinks City
Tottenham Hotspur skipper Robbie Keane grabbed a late winner against Manchester City to keep alive his side's hopes of a European place. Jermain Defoe had opened the scoring at White Hart Lane and was later involved in a mix-up that led to one of the assistant referees being injured and replaced at half-time.
Valeri Bojinov equalised for City, but Keane scored the winner from the penalty spot, meaning the race for seventh place will go to the wire. By only conceding one goal, Spurs also established a new league club record for least goals conceded at home in a season, but it was the fact that they edged City in an action-packed encounter that really mattered.
After scoring the opener, Defoe was involved in the bizarre incident with the assistant referee on the stroke of half-time. Nedum Onuoha challenged him on the touchline and as he rolled off the floor Defoe must have felt a touch.
The England striker may have felt it was his opponent, but it was actually assistant referee Trevor Massey, with Defoe instinctively flicking out. It did not appear deliberate, but Massey still required treatment and was replaced by Stuart Attwell at the interval.
Spurs should have sealed the points by then, but Shay Given single-handedly kept his side in the match. It was Keane who set up the first chance. Defoe had already had a strike ruled out for offside, then Keane slipped him the ball in the fourth minute. Defoe took a touch inside and curled an effort on target, with Given leaping to his left to keep out the effort.
Given's high standards means those type of saves are now expected of him, and he was down sharply again when Roman Pavlyuchenko tried his luck from 25 yards. The Republic of Ireland man pulled another save out of the top drawer when Ledley King connected with Tom Huddlestone's corner, with a reflex stop required on the line. Given was finally beaten, just before the half-hour mark, by Defoe's impish piece of skill.
Jermaine Jenas shifted the ball to Huddlestone on the right, the cross came over, but was slightly behind Defoe, so the striker back-heeled on the volley beyond Given. It was his first goal since a foot injury in January kept him out for ten weeks, and City may have been disappointed that Elano was not taken off just before the goal.
The Brazilian was struggling with an eye complaint and was taken off for Pablo Zabaleta just after the opener. There had been very little for Oasis singer Liam Gallagher to shout about from the stands, only a poked Martin Petrov effort, a finish that suggested he was a player short of confidence and a right foot.
Alan Hutton came on at the break for Jonathan Woodgate, meaning Spurs made a change as well as the officials. Spurs had won their previous four home matches 1-0 and City were determined to break that sequence, with Micah Richards raiding down the right trying to make something happen. Felipe Caicedo had sight of goal, but his effort was sliced wildly and almost went for a throw.
City manager Mark Hughes responded by introducing Benjani and Bojinov for Petrov and Caicedo, on the hour mark. Bojinov equalised in the 65th minute. Stephen Ireland chipped the ball into the penalty area, Benjani held off two defenders and Bojinov dipped his volleyed home when it broke for him.
Pavlyuchenko stabbed an effort horribly wide and was then taken off and headed straight down the tunnel, with Spurs manager Harry Redknapp appearing unimpressed with the Russian. Spurs were awarded their penalty when Richards held Fraizer Campbell, with Keane tucking away the spot-kick. Benjani missed a sitter for City in the dying moments.