Nathan Ake relieved after Man City finally win at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

By Sports Desk January 27, 2024

Nathan Ake admitted to a sense of relief that Manchester City finally broke their Tottenham Hotspur Stadium curse to stay on track to defend their FA Cup crown.

The holders squandered a number of chances in Friday’s fourth-round tie at Spurs before Ake poked home from close range with two minutes left.

It represented City’s first goal at Tottenham’s new home at the sixth time of asking and the centre-back conceded it felt like being another night to forget until his timely intervention.

“So happy. It was tough but we played really well over the whole game. We just had to score and it didn’t happen again for a long time. I was thinking is it going to happen but luckily we got it,” Ake said.

“I think trusting the way we played (was key). We played really well, created numerous chances and just the belief to keep going. Even though we didn’t score, just to keep going, keep trying and in the end we got it.

“I thought it is never going to come but finally we’ve done it.”

The introduction of Kevin De Bruyne proved crucial and it was his corner which created Ake’s 88th-minute winner.

De Bruyne had been left red-faced six minutes earlier when he curled wide with only Guglielmo Vicario to beat, but made amends with an exceptional set-piece delivery.

The 1-0 win made it seven victories in a row for City, who remain in the hunt for another treble after claiming Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League success last season.

Ake told ITV: “I think it was important to go through, we want to fight for every competition and this was a big step forward.”

Following a lacklustre first half, all eyes were on when De Bruyne and fit-again Spurs playmaker James Maddison would get the nod to come on.

Maddison made his first appearance since he sustained ankle ligament damage on November 6, but only touched the ball six times as Tottenham struggled to gain a foothold in the contest.

Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou hoped Maddison would be better for his 17-minute cameo with games to come against Brentford and Everton next week.

“Knowing the nature of the game, he’s trained well this week-and-a-half but he’s missed a lot of football,” Postecoglou explained.

“We were hoping to get him some minutes, which he did and he should be right to go from now on, but there’s another two games next week and we need him and others to pitch in.

“So, yeah it wasn’t really much of a dilemma about whether to start him or not. I just felt that coming off the bench was going to be better for us as a team more than anything else.”

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