Manchester City staged a memorable 4-2 comeback win over Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday (January 19) that got them back on track in the title race. Riyad Mahrez's magical double secured the Etihad giants a win that took them to within five points of league leaders Arsenal.
Both teams were desperate for a positive result after stumbling in their respective derbies last weekend. Antonio Conte's men made life difficult for the hosts in the first half hour, and it was a feisty affair between the two sides.
However, Pep Guardiola's side were the architects of their downfall in the 44th minute when Ederson tried a tame pass with Spurs pressing. Dejan Kulusevski pounced on the Brazilian goalkeeper's mistake and buried the opener to put his side ahead.
The Etihad faithful were stunned three minutes later in the 45+2nd minute when Tottenham's Emerson Royal responded quickly to Ederson's save from Harry Kane. The right-back put Spurs into dreamland and stirred up more trouble for Guardiola and Co.
Boos rang out around the Etihad as their beleaguered Manchester City side trudged down the tunnel for half-time. Guardiola must have got into his troops at half-time as they came out all guns blazing in the second half.
They grabbed a vital goal in the 51st minute when a pinball scenario in the Spurs box allowed Julian Alvarez to tap home his fourth goal for the club. It was a storming start to the second half from City. They soon equalized in the 53rd minute. Erling Haaland got himself back among the goals with a fine header to bring Guardiola's men level.
Tottenham worried the hosts in the 59th minute when Kulusevski raced forward on the right flank. The Swede played an enticing ball into the City boss, which Ivan Perisic smashed towards Ederson's goal. However, the impressive Rico Lewis' crucial block sent the ball crashing off the woodwork.
Mahrez was man-of-the-match. He provided City with their vital third in the 63rd minute. The Algerian tricked his way past Ben Davies before firing past Lloris at the near post, thanks to a slight deflection. The French shot-stopper's woeful form continues.
Tottenham were still alive despite woefully allowing Manchester City to get back into the game and turn things around. Yet, Mahrez conjured up more wizardry in the 89th minute to end proceedings. He dinked the ball over a despairing Lloris as Guardiola's men secured all three points in a pulsating affair.
Here's how Twitter reacted to a dramatic win for the reigning Premier League champions:
Tottenham manager Conte lauded Manchester City as the best team in the world
Conte showered praise on Manchester City ahead of the two sides' clash tonight, claiming Guardiola's men to be the best team in the world. The Italian insisted that he didn't need to motivate his players because they knew the task they had in front of them. He said (via Sky Sports):
"We are going to face in my opinion the best team in the world. In this type of game it's not important to give extra motivation to your players because they know the importance of the game."
Guardiola has transformed City since arriving in 2016. They have won the Premier League four times, the FA Cup once, and the League Cup four times during his tenure. They next host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday (January 22), while Tottenham head to Fulham on Monday (January 23).