Tottenham, Manchester City Win to Set Showdown for Champions League Place
Tottenham and Manchester City won in English soccer’s Premier League, leaving each in control of its destiny in qualifying for the Champions League with two games remaining.
Tottenham beat Bolton 1-0 and City rallied to defeat Aston Villa 3-1. Tottenham leads City by one point for fourth place, the final qualifying spot for Europe’s elite club competition, ahead of the teams’ meeting in four days at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Birmingham beat relegated Burnley 2-1, last-place Portsmouth defeated Wolverhampton 3-1 and Stoke drew 0-0 at home with Everton in today’s other games.
Tom Huddlestone’s goal in the 38th minute gave Tottenham its fifth straight home win at White Hart Lane. The midfielder took a pass from Benoit Assou-Ekotto and fired a shot from 20 yards into the top right corner of the net.
The victory gives Spurs 67 points on the season, their highest total ever in the Premier League.
Manchester City fell behind against Aston Villa on John Carew’s 16th-minute goal before taking the lead late in the first half. Carlos Tevez tied the game four minutes before the break with a penalty kick after Stephen Warnock took Adam Johnson down.
Carew then hit the crossbar following the restart and City went down the other end and took a 2-1 lead on a goal from Emmanuel Adebayor. The score remained that way until Craig Bellamy clinched the victory for City by curling a shot into the upper corner in the 89th minute.
The loss ended Villa’s chances of reaching the Champions League. Villa is in sixth place with 64 points, two ahead of Liverpool, which hosts first-place Chelsea tomorrow.
Birmingham used a score from Cristian Benitez and an own goal from Brian Jensen to stay on course for its best Premier League finish. The Blues are in ninth place with 50 points, matching their point total from the 2003-04 season, when they finished 10th.
Burnley, which has already been relegated back to the second-division Championship after one season, set a Premier League record with its 17th away loss.
Aruna Dindane, John Utaka and Michael Brown scored the goals as Portsmouth won its final home game before being relegated.
Everton’s hope of finishing seventh to qualify for the second-tier Europa League ended with its goalless draw at Stoke. Phil Jagielka put the ball into the net for the Toffees in the 74th minute, but the goal was disallowed by referee Howard Webb.
Chelsea can claim its first title since 2006 by beating Liverpool tomorrow and having Manchester United lose at Sunderland. West Ham can also relegate Hull by avoiding defeat at Fulham.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.