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The unanticipated jubilation from Manchester City speaks volumes as Erling Haaland ends their curse against Tottenham.

Hidden Man City rejoicing tells a tale as Erling Haaland smashes Spurs’ hex

At 22:14 on the 14th of May 2024, Erling Haaland shared celebrations with Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, and Ruben Dias after his goal against Tottenham.

Not everyone might have realized it at the beginning, but few could look away from this nail-biting thriller as Manchester City battled through nerves to break their curse at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, maintaining their grip on the title race as they head into the final day. Like buses arriving together, a goal and a victory came for Pep Guardiola’s team, clinching a mighty three points with a 2-0 win, yet that’s just a fraction of the story.

From the outside, it might not seem like there’s much tension among the City squad, with Guardiola lauding their incredible focus as they edge closer to another Premier League crown. However, among the 3,038 fans in the away end, comfort was a rare feeling as kick-off approached. Many remembered a time when City struggled far more, and all were aware of their dismal record at this stadium, despite their dominance elsewhere in the country.

City had often struggled to find the net in this stadium, so when Vicario denied Phil Foden’s opening goal with a superb save in the 16th minute, there was a sense of déjà vu. Ederson had also pulled off an impressive stop, tipping Rodrigo Bentancur’s effort over the bar.

Among Spurs fans, opinions were divided on the desired outcome of the match. Early chants expressed disdain for Arsenal, though not always loudly, while the home side’s attacks were met with fervent support from the stands.

The atmosphere was reminiscent of Champions League nights, with City cautious against the pace of Son Heung-min and burdened by the weight of expectation and history. Guardiola was visibly tense as Erling Haaland narrowly missed opportunities, and the team struggled to trouble Vicario; it was their first Premier League game without a first-half goal since their draw with Arsenal in March at the Etihad.

Those who claimed there was no real title race and no excitement in City’s games must have been among those praying for a goal. However, as the game wore on, it seemed a moment of brilliance akin to Vincent Kompany’s goal against Leicester in 2019 would be needed for City to secure three points.

The start of the second half saw the players huddle for a final message on the pitch, a rare sight. This seemed to inspire them, with De Bruyne testing Vicario early on, but Spurs also threatened, with Son almost beating Ederson.

Foden’s skill on the left flank created an opportunity, but it was Bernardo Silva who kept possession and set up De Bruyne, who then assisted Haaland for the crucial goal, sparking wild celebrations in the away end and prompting a few home fans to attempt the Poznan dance. City had finally scored a Premier League goal at Tottenham after four attempts, and chants of “Champions Again” echoed.

De Bruyne and Haaland, once again, made the difference. Despite being average for much of the game, they produced the decisive moment.

However, City’s path to victory was far from smooth. A collision between Cristian Romero and Ederson left the City keeper floored, resulting in a booking for goalkeeping coach Xabi Mancisidor, and Ederson’s frustration at being substituted had to be managed by his teammates.

Spurs’ Dejan Kulusevski then threatened, but Ortega’s save denied them. With City tempers frayed, nerves were tested until Haaland’s penalty sealed the win. City fans could finally relax, although it was notable that Kovacic celebrated with Ortega, highlighting the team’s unity.

The clean sheet marked a record-equalling four away wins without conceding, a feat not seen since 1903 in the second division. More importantly, City are just three points away from their fourth consecutive Premier League title, proving that their journey has been far from dull.

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