Manchester City have made sure of Champions League qualification with a narrow 1-0 win over Tottenham tonight. City did enough to go seven points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool with two games remaining giving them premier European action just as they set out to achieve at the beginning of the season.
Their win came courtesy of a Peter Crouch own goal in the 30th minute before the visitors went on the attack in pursuit of either a win or draw but the City defence held strong to assure a top-four finish much to the delight of the Eastlands faithful.
Roberto Mancini and his men will now prepare for their first piece of silverware in 35 years when they contest the FA Cup final with Stoke City on Saturday whilst Spurs travel to the high-flying Liverpool on Sunday.
Venue: City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester Crowd: 47,029 Referee: Mike Dean Yellow cards:MANC - James Milner 80' TOT - Steven Pienaar 83'
City looked solid early and came extremely close in the 11th minute when David Silva was played into the area before cutting back for Edin Dzeko whose shot from inside the area was well-saved by Carlo Cudicini who had been brought in to Tottenham's goal by Harry Redknapp.
It was a very open game as both sides went after the win with Spurs getting on top with some positive play midway through the opening half.
In the 28th minute, Aaron Lennon made a clever run down the right and then cut back for an unmarked Luka Modric who was inches off the target from top of the area when perhaps a player of his class should have done better.
GOAL Then right on the half-hour mark, City took the lead thanks to an own goal from Peter Crouch which came about when James Milner played a dangerous final ball into the area after a short corner forcing the Spurs striker to stick out a defensive leg but only to see the ball deflect into the back of the net.
City looked menacing after the goal with Silva coming close with his 37th minute attempt before teammate Joe Hart made a comfortable save from Rafael van der Vaart's stoppage-time attempt as the first half ended without much fuss.
Spurs were pressing hard early in the second half with all the play in their attacking third as they enjoyed much more possession with van der Vaart lashing over the crossbar right on the 60-minute mark.
The City defence was working overtime but their forwards were providing little as Mancini looked to hang onto the lead before they had a few openings, particularly when substitute Carlos Tevez played in fellow sub Patrick Vieira whose chipped attempt over Cudicini was cleared off the line by fellow former Gunner William Gallas in the 87th minute.
However, neither side could hit the back of the net in the ensuing minutes as City celebrated qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in a very long while.
Man City Joe Hart (gk) - Micah Richards, Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott, Pablo Zabaleta (Kolarov 57') - Nigel de Jong, James Milner, Yaya Toure - David Silva (Tevez 83'), Edin Dzeko, Adam Johnson (Vieira 66')
Subs - Shay Given (gk), Aleksandar Kolarov (57'), Patrick Vieira (66'), Carlos Tevez (83'), Shaun Wright-Phillips, Mario Balotelli, Dedryck Boyata
Spurs Carlo Cudicini (gk) - Vedran Corluka, Michael Dawson, William Gallas (Kaboul 88'), Danny Rose - Luka Modric. Wilson Palacios (Pienaar 31'), Sandro, Rafael van der Vaart, Aaron Lennon - Peter Crouch (Defoe 78')