Saturday, January 28, 2023 | Rajab 5, 1444 H
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Mahrez leads City comeback

A stunning turnaround by Manchester City to beat Tottenham Hotspur, 4-2, adds to the latter’s problems who have lost six in 10 Premier League games, including three in the last four.

After trailing 2 nil down at half-time, City manager Pep Guardiola’s team-talk at the break, whatever he might have said, gave remarkable lift to his players. Guardiola, however was critical of their entire first-half performance and were booed off by fans at half-time.

He said: “Playing with this lack of passion, I can announce we are not going to win anything. We lacked guts, passion, fire, desire to win from minute one. The same with the fans, they were silent for 45 minutes. I want my fans back. The fans have to shout. They booed because we were losing, not because we played badly. We played good. We were better (than Tottenham).

He added: “Maybe they’re too comfortable because we have won Premier League in five years. After we scored a goal, they reacted, but that is not the point. I don’t recognise my team, they (once) had the passion and desire to run. Do you think we are going to close the gap to Arsenal (currently leading the table by 5 points) the way we are playing? No way. Today we were lucky”.

Spurs went into the lead a minute before the break following a mistake by the City goalkeeper who casually passed the ball to Rodri on the edge of the box but Rodriga Bentancur got to the ball first and passed to Dejan Kulusevski who easily guided the ball in.

Within two minutes of added time the lead was doubled. Harry Kane beat Rodri on the right and put in a cross which was only parried by Ederson for an easy header into the net by Emerson Royal.

After the break an inspired City equalised with goals in a space of two minutes. In the 51st minute Riyad Mahrez’s cross could not be cleared by Spurs and Alvarez was able to steer the ball in. Two minutes later Rodri passed to Mahrez who headed to Haaland in the six-yard box to head home.

Mahrez put his side ahead ten minutes after their second goal. He won the ball from Ivan Perisic and beat Davies before driving the ball in at the near post. His second goal came in the last minute of normal time. Substitute Clement Lenglet was not able to control a long punt from Ederson and Mahrez ran clear to clip the ball over Lloris for City’s fourth.

Spurs manager, Antonio Conte said: “If I have to compare this game with last season (which they won), we played better today. The performance was good. We played with personality and created a lot of problems (for City). We were really brave to press high. We had a massive chance to score at 2-2. I don’t know how the game changes then. We deserved much more. We have to continue to work.”

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