Tottenham 1-0 Man City: Spurs' new stadium baptism ignites City's bogey team era

Son was the hero that night
Son was the hero that night / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages

For some reason, Tottenham Hotspur have become the kryptonite for Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

Their record since Spurs moved from Wembley back to the site of White Hart Lane has been abysmal, and it was a run which started less than a week after the Lilywhites returned home.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium opened in April 2019 with Spurs beating Crystal Palace 2-0 in the Premier League. It featured fireworks, light shows and the Go Compare Man singing.

But the true 'opening night' came in their Champions League quarter-final against Man City. Here's a look back at that fateful evening in N17.

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Match report

The first Champions League game in Tottenham in eight years saw Spurs beat tournament favourites Manchester City 1-0 in the first leg of their quarter-final.

Tottenham's two-and-a-half season European odyssey at Wembley is over and after returning to their spiritual Haringey home last week with a win against Crystal Palace, they managed to conquer the English champions on a memorable night back in north London.

The visitors nearly found a half-sight of goal inside the opening minute when Raheem Sterling found David Silva waiting in the left channel, but his instinctive shot could only find the side-netting.

Spurs' first chance came when Danny Rose's ball into midfield was flicked on by Dele Alli and into the path of the marauding Mousso Sissoko. He returned the favour with a cross for Dele, only for his acrobatic effort cleared the crossbar.

Hugo Lloris, Sergio Aguero
Lloris kept out Aguero / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

With only 12 minutes on the clock, Man City were awarded a penalty. Sterling cut inside from the left and had a shot blocked by Rose, but after a lengthy VAR check, the left-back was judged to have made the intervention with his arm.

However, Sergio Aguero was unable to take advantage and his spot-kick was well-saved by Hugo Lloris, who dived down to his left to keep out the Argentine.

The hosts then quickly had two penalty appeals dismissed when Harry Kane was brought down by Nicolas Otamendi and then Dele by Aymeric Laporte as the pressure inside the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium continued to ever increase.

Spurs went close midway through the first half when Dele cleverly pirouetted around Otamendi and found Christian Eriksen, whose first-time pass found Kane free inside the 18-yard-box. But the England captain seemingly didn't realise just how much time he had and his quick snap-shot was pushed away by Ederson.

The first 45 ended with Tottenham in the ascendancy, but were let off the hook immediately after the break when ponderous defending allowed Sterling to gain a few yards of freedom in the box. Fortunately for the hosts, the resulting shot was calmly palmed away by Lloris.

At the other end, Son Heung-min came in from the right flank and curled a shot at goal from 25 yards, and Ederson was grateful that it just about landed on the other side of his post.

Kane dropped deep into midfield to rob Ilkay Gundogan of possession and played a neat one-two with Harry Winks to launch a quick counter attack, which ended with Son this time forcing Ederson into a low save.

Fabian Delph, Harry Kane
Kane was injured in a 50-50 with Delph / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages

The tie changed after 55 minutes when Fabian Delph clattered Kane's ankle, and the Tottenham talisman immediately limped down the tunnel to the audible horror of the home crowd.

With under a quarter of an hour remaining, Man City had threatened to truly trouble Spurs from open play, and they were punished when Son broke the deadlock after 78 minutes. Eriksen's clever ball between Delph and Laporte was met by the South Korean, whose skewed touch saw him scramble to keep it in play, eventually circling his way back round to the edge of the six-yard box and firing under Ederson.

Pep Guardiola threw on Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane with six minutes of stoppage time looming, but Man City still failed to cause Tottenham any major problems and Mauricio Pochettino's side will head to the Etihad Stadium with a precious one-goal lead and zero away goals conceded.

Tottenham Hotspur player ratings

The winning side / IAN KINGTON/GettyImages

GK: Hugo Lloris - 8/10 - His penalty save changed the tie. Simple as.

RB: Kieran Trippier - 6/10 - Wasn't his best day in terms of crossing but did just about enough to keep Sterling off the scoresheet.

CB: Toby Alderweireld - 7/10 - Sometimes guilty of cheaply giving the ball away but was largely solid defensively.

CB: Jan Vertonghen - 7/10 - Made a series of crucial interceptions when Man City tried to play through Spurs.

LB: Danny Rose - 7/10 - While at the time the handball call seemed harsh (particularly because not one Man City player appealed for it), the decision was probably correct. Nevertheless, Rose recovered well and kept Mahrez ever so quiet.

CM: Moussa Sissoko - 8/10 - Covered every blade of grass, sweeping up in midfield and carrying it up the pitch. Also provided extra protection for Trippier at right-back against Sterling.

CM: Harry Winks - 6/10 - Provided stability at the base of midfield both in and out of possession, though did sometimes get overrun by Man City's press.

RM: Son Heung-min - 8/10 - The match-winner. Doubled up on Delph and tormented him down the right wing, spinning him inside-out.

AM: Dele Alli - 7/10 - Linked midfield and attack so well. Did well to win the ball high up the pitch and draw fouls, forcing Man City's backline to reshuffle in accordance with his runs.

LM: Christian Eriksen - 8/10 - Spurs were able to play at varying tempos due to Eriksen's ability to drop into midfield and spread passes at will.

CF: Harry Kane - 6/10 - Didn't look too sharp, but that was largely because Man City players were essentially hitting him with a lead pipe all game until he eventually succumbed to his injuries.


Lucas Moura (58' for Kane) - 6/10

Victor Wanyama (81' for Winks) - N/A

Fernando Llorente (87' for Dele) - N/A


Mauricio Pochettino - 8/10 - Could have easily set up to simply sit deep and counter Man City, but Spurs went toe-to-toe with them and were duly rewarded.

Manchester City player ratings

Mauricio Pochettino, Fabian Delph
Delph was poor / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages

GK: Ederson - 6/10 - Bravely claimed several crosses and made a few decent saves, but there'll be question marks over whether he could have done more to keep Son out.

RB: Kyle Walker - 5/10 - Roundly booed on his return to this part of north London. Spurs came inside to avoid his pacy defensive presence and he was essentially taken out of the game.

CB: Nicolas Otamendi - 4/10 - Played with over-the-top aggression and made it hard for Man City to pass out from the back with composure.

CB: Aymeric Laporte - 6/10 - The best of a rather bad bunch at the back for Man City.

LB: Fabian Delph - 2/10 - Clumsy, erratic, unfit, sent to the shops for Son's winner. A terrible night.

DM: Fernandinho - 5/10 - Usually so cunning and clever, Fernandinho was second-best in a lot of his duels this time around.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan - 5/10 - Lost the ball a few times under pressure in the midfield battle. Just doesn't provide the same threat as Kevin De Bruyne.

CM: David Silva - 6/10 - Wriggled his way into pockets of space but like Gundogan was unable to have the same impact on the game as De Bruyne from the off would have.

RW: Riyad Mahrez - 4/10 - Shrunk in his battle with Rose. Far too timid with the ball.

CF: Sergio Aguero - 3/10 - Missed a crucial penalty and was then swallowed up by Spurs' two Belgians.

LW: Raheem Sterling - 6/10 - Man City's most threatening outlet. Needed way more help out of his supporting cast.


Gabriel Jesus (71' for Aguero) - 4/10

Kevin De Bruyne (89' for Silva) - N/A

Leroy Sane (89' for Mahrez) - N/A


Pep Guardiola - 3/10 - Made some strange team choices and reacted too late with his substitutions.

Player of the Match - Son Heung-min

Underrated performances

Christian Eriksen
Eriksen was superb / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Tottenham's win was the result of a real team effort, and it would be very harsh to say that any given player didn't have a good game. There were, however, a few standouts besides the obvious match-winner in Son Heung-min:

  • After conceding the penalty early on, Danny Rose rolled back the years to lock up Mahrez. He also gave former teammate Walker one hell of a game to the delight of the home supporters.
  • Though this was when he was beginning to physically decline, Dele Alli looked incredibly sharp, forcing Man City into uncomfortable positions both with and without the ball.
  • Tottenham have largely failed to replace Christian Eriksen since he left, and this was quietly one of his most important performances for the club. His feel for the game and simple ability to look up and play a pass were the main reasons why Spurs were able to come out and face Man City with their chest.
  • The one season Moussa Sissoko could do everything. Good lord.

Man City's European woes

For whatever reason, Man City just can't piece their Premier League dominance together in the Champions League.

A lot of the buildup to this game centred around their surprise exit to Liverpool at the quarter-final stage a year prior, falling three goals down early on in the first leg at Anfield.

Guardiola's men had won their last three meetings with Spurs with relative ease, but played with an unusual trepidation this time around. The decisions not to play De Bruyne or Sane for longer also seemed odd.

Tottenham would ultimately advance to the semi-finals on away goals after Man City could only muster a 4-3 win at the Etihad Stadium a week later, with Sterling famously denied a tie-clinching goal deep into stoppage time by VAR.

Forgotten tidbits

  • Tottenham's 2018/19 home kit featuring the navy gradient was horrific. It looked even worse with the white shorts in Europe.
  • VAR was still relatively new to football, and so even when referee Bjorn Kuipers went to check the handball against Rose, home players, fans and even the commentators seemed fairly calm. They did not yet realise this was usually a death sentence.
  • Kane put himself about much more in his younger days, but as best demonstrated in this game, this would lead to more serious injuries (see also: Jack Wilshere). Delph was reckless throughout and would be the one to force Kane off, while Fernandinho and Otamendi were guilty of some rather illegal manoeuvres too.
  • Prior to grabbing the winner, there was some concern when Son too went down holding his ankle. After eventually being allowed to return to the pitch, he scored just 28 seconds later.
  • There was a VAR check against Son for potential offside leading up to his goal, which he was cleared of by millimetres. A real sliding doors moment in the tie.
  • The ebb-and-flow of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium crowd really was like a 12th man. A fiery opening was only stoked by boisterous fans, while on the flip side, they were hushed into near-silence when Kane hobbled off, the wretched sound of 60,000 hearts dropping. As Spurs held their own and eventually found a winner, soothing encouragement became unparalleled delirium, a 'glory glory' night celebrated long into the night on the new concourses.