Roberto Mancini’s City raced away to a two-goal lead early in the second half but Harry Redknapp’s Spurs hit back almost immediately with two of their own within six minutes of falling behind.
But late drama ensued as City were awarded a penalty with Mario Balotelli stepping up to coolly slot home the injury-time spot kick he won.
It was a very cautious beginning from both sides as they tried to work each other out and the tempo remained relaxed as the match progressed with neither set of players wanting to divulge their cards too soon but the contest was sparked into life with four goals in just under ten minutes during the second half.
The deadlock was broken in the 56th minute when Samir Nasri latched onto a perfect through ball from David Silva to hammer past Brad Friedel, sending the City crowd straight into their ‘Poznan’ celebration.
A few minutes later, City turned the game on its head when Nasri whipped in a corner from the right which was flicked on by Edin Dzeko to the middle of the six-yard box where Joleon Lescott was on hand to bundle home from close range.
There was a further twist just after the hour-mark when a long ball into the Spurs attacking third was glanced into the path of Jermain Defoe by City defender Stefan Savic and the England marksman needed no invitation to race onto the loose ball and slot past Joe Hart into an open goal to really make a game of it.
Five minutes later, Spurs were back in touch when Gareth Bale received a ball from Aaron Lennon just outside the box and then produced a brilliant curling finish which gave Hart no chance whatsoever to make it 2-2.
It was a classic arm wrestle after the flurry of goals with both sides searching for an elusive winner which almost came for the visitors when Bale played a pinpoint injury-time ball for Defoe at the back post with the Spurs striker at full stretch but unable to get enough on it for the win.
Minutes later, City were given the opportunity to win the clash when Ledley King brought down Balotelli in the area and the Italian ace stepped up to extend City’s lead at the top of the table to six points over Manchewster United who get set to face Arsenal at the Emirates.
The victory continued City’s perfect league run at home this season, with their record now 11 wins from 11, whilst Tottenham lost their first game in eight to fall eight points behind the leaders.
TRIBAL ASKS: Is that Tottenham’s title chances lost or do they still have time?
Etihad Stadium, Manchester – 47,422