Manchester City sealed their Champions League place with a 1-0 victory at Eastlands over Tottenham on Tuesday.Striker Peter Crouch – Spurs’ hero when the two sides met in almost exact circumstances a year ago – put through his own net in the 30th minute for the game’s only goal, settling what was in essence a fourth-placed playoff for a spot in the qualifying rounds of Europe’s premier club competition.
And the result means that the Blues can now turn their full attention to Saturday’s FA Cup Final against Stoke City and their first piece of silverware in 35 years.
The first chance of the game came when City winger Adam Johnson’s lay-off found Micah Richards, but his shot was blocked.
Moments later, City striker Edin Dzeko found David Silva and he pulled back cleverly for the Bosnian, but he shot straight into the stomach of Tottenham’s second-choice keeper Carlo Cudicini.
Cudicini was in goal for Heurelho Gomes, who Spurs claimed was the victim of injury and not overlooked after several uncertain showings.
Spurs controlled much of the play without troubling City, though they finally created a chance in the 20th minute when winger Aaron Lennon picked out Luka Modric, only for the Croatian to drag his shot inches wide.
City got the breakthrough when Spurs were punished for slack marking at a corner.
James Milner and Johnson exchanged passes before the former drilled in a low cross that Crouch could only divert past Cudicini.
Straight after the break, Steven Pienaar’s header from Aaron Lennon’s cross appeared destined for the bottom right corner, but City goalkeeper JoeHart managed to change direction and drop to make a fantastic save.
City adopted a negative style of play in the second half, leaving Spurs to try to break through.
A free-kick from 30 yards in an attractive position was sent straight into the wall by van der Vaart.
The hosts had a chance when Yaya Toure passed across the box from the right, but Silva slipped as he ran into acres of space to meet it.
Dzeko missed his own opportunity after a flick on from Silva, when his strike from in front of goal went high and wide.
The visitors took a short corner which was fed back to van der Vaart, but his shot from well outside the area was far off the mark.
Carlos Tevez’s substitution with seven minutes to go gave City much-needed energy and the striker made an almost instant impact when he worked the ball into the box and laid off for Patrick Vieira, whose shot narrowly missed the target.