LONDON, May 5, 2010 (AFP) - Tottenham booked a lucrative place in the Champions League in dramatic fashion as Peter Crouch's late header clinched a 1-0 win against Manchester City on Wednesday.
Harry Redknapp's team will finish at least fourth in the Premier League, guaranteeing a place in the Champions League qualifying rounds, after Crouch's 82nd minute winner at Eastlands opened up a four-point advantage over fifth-placed City with just one match to play.
|Peter Crouch (C) scores his goal against Manchester City on May 5, 2010. AFP PHOTO|
A fixture dubbed a 50 million pounds play-off for a place in Europe's elite club competition lived up to its' billing as both sides went for broke, but it was Spurs who were deserved winners.
Redknapp said: "It's fantastic. It's been a terrific season for us, we've played some great football along the way and we deserve it.
"It was a good night, we played some good stuff and I could see the goal coming.
"Crouchy was fantastic, led the line, unbelievable. It was a good performance."
City manager Roberto Mancini could be sacked as a result of his failure to secure fourth place, but asked whether he thought he would be staying, he said: "I think so. It's disappointing because I think we played a good game, a game we had to win or we went out of the Champions League.
"I think we've had a good season because we'll play in the Europa League next year and we've improved a lot.
"I'm disappointed with this result, but it's football."
The presence of Ledley King, who struggles with a persistent knee injury, in Tottenham's team for a rare second appearance in quick succession showed just how important the match was.
Spurs last played in the European Cup in the 1961-61 season and they earned the right to play against the continent's best again with a dominant display.
Crouch's header hit the woodwork early on before King had a headed goal ruled out for a foul on Gareth Barry.
There were chances at both ends in an open encounter and it took fine stops from Marton Fulop to deny Spurs duo Crouch and Jermain Defoe in the second half.
Crouch finally broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute when he headed home from close-range after Fulop could only push Younes Kaboul's cross into his path.
Elsewhere, Stoke moved into 10th place with a 1-0 win over Europa League finalists Fulham.
Tony Pulis's side took the points when winger Matthew Etherington lashed in Ricardo Fuller's cross in the 83rd minute at Craven Cottage.