The Roar
The Roar


Ange out: City break bizarre hoodoo to send Spurs crashing out of FA Cup, Martinez masterclass as Villa hold Chelsea

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26th January, 2024

Nathan Ake’s 88th-minute tap-in has helped Manchester City end their Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hoodoo and progress into the FA Cup fifth round after a 1-0 away victory.

Pep Guardiola’s side had failed to score in their previous five visits to Spurs’ home and that unwanted record looked set to extend until Ake bundled home from close range after goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario flapped at Kevin De Bruyne’s corner.

All eyes had been on De Bruyne and Tottenham playmaker James Maddison after a lacklustre first half and while the former helped break the deadlock, it was an uncharacteristic City goal that fired them to a seventh straight win.

Ange Postecoglou’s team could have little complaints and this cup loss means the club’s trophy drought will almost certainly extend into a 17th year.

 “It was a tough game against a top side. We worked hard to stay in the game and conceded so late. But they were the better side,” said Postecoglou

“They make you suffer at points so we had to work hard and for the most part we defended well. It was just too tough a test for us.

“We continue on with the way we’ve been going, it doesn’t mean today changes anything for us.”

Both the club’s respective top goalscorers Son Heung-min and Erling Haaland were absent while playmakers Maddison and De Bruyne had to be content with a place on the bench.


City’s notoriously poor record at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was well documented and Guardiola’s side almost broke their duck in the fifth minute when Oscar Bobb tapped home on the goal line.

Bobb pounced after Vicario had denied Phil Foden from close range, but City youngster Bobb was adjudged by VAR to be marginally offside.

The visitors continued to seek a maiden goal at this venue and after Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic had efforts blocked, Guardiola let out his first sign of exasperation when Josko Gvardiol sent a cross into the stand.

Spurs had barely had a kick but were given some unexpected respite when a three-minute delay to proceedings occurred due to one of Paul Tierney’s assistant referees having an issue with his technical equipment.

When play did get back under way, normal service resumed and a succession of last-ditch defending denied City in the 41st-minute with Bobb’s left-footed strike thwarted by Pedro Porro’s block.


Micky van de Ven made a vital intervention straight after half-time when Julian Alvarez had a sight of goal before Tottenham finally caused a moment of panic for the away side.

Timo Werner sent Brennan Johnson through on goal, but City’s back-up goalkeeper Stefan Ortega was out quick to dive at the feet of the forward.

It reenergised the home crowd although Guardiola turned to his ace in the pack with 65 minutes on the clock when De Bruyne was introduced.

Postecoglou followed suit eight minutes later and Maddison earned a hero’s reception on his return.

But Ake had other ideas and when Vicario blundered the City defender was on hand to poke home and send the holders through to the last 16.

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were held to a lively goalless draw by Aston Villa as both sides squandered opportunities to settle the tie.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team had scored six in their previous outing, dispatching Middlesbrough to reach next month’s Carabao Cup final, but found Unai Emery’s Premier League high-flyers a more obdurate hurdle as a combined 23 shots from both sides failed to yield a winner. 


John McGinn spurned Villa’s best chances in either half, while Emiliano Martinez twice denied Chelsea as Noni Madueke and Cole Palmer found themselves frustrated. 

Martinez, a World Cup winner with Argentina, was praised by both managers.

“Of course he is a world champion and is world class. It’s always so difficult to beat them,” said Chelsea’s Mauricio Pochettino.

Villa manager Unai Emery added: “He played amazing today. He saved us two or three times. And then he was always ready to cover our centre-backs in behind. Emiliano today, we needed him. And really he played like he is – number one.”

It was a theme of the night in west London as a replay at Villa Park beckons. 

In other matches, Bristol City drew 0-0 at home to Premier League club Nottingham Forest and will have to travel to the City Ground while Sheffield Wednesday will have to replay their tie with Coventry City at the Building Society Arena after their 1-1 result at Hillsborough Stadium.