Kanouté redeems himself in style

Manchester City 0 - Tottenham Hotspur 1
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The Independent Football

There is no record of what the Manchester City manager said prior to the Great Flood but you suspect he advised Noah to put down his hammer because the weather had to improve.

You tempt providence at your peril when you take the helm at Manchester City, but Kevin Keegan, ever the optimist, was at it on Saturday. In the match programme his sights were on a place among the Premiership's G8 but by the evening, after Tottenham Hotspur had won comfortably, his ambition had been tempered.

"Today was: do we want to be in the top half of the table or the bottom half?" the City manager asked. "The answer is we are going to have to battle and it's going to be tough.

Keegan estimated that at least five players underperformed and that you win nothing in this game with those kind of numbers. Particularly when one of the five is normally your match-winner.

There is a bandwagon building for Shaun Wright-Phillips to take David Beckham's right-flank place in the England team but the strong advice for leaders of that campaign is to buy all the videos of this match and burn them. His crossing was so bad that the description poor did not do it justice.

With the normal object of their affections under par, City's supporters had a Road-To-Damascus afternoon in that they began by booing Nicolas Anelka, then cheered him when he came on as substitute. It was some transformation. Not so profound that he turned the match, so it was left to another striker to make the transformation to hero.

Freddie Kanouté had a wretched time against Liverpool a fortnight ago, but his ferocious drive ensured Spurs a third successive league win.

Goal: Kanouté (57) 0-1.

Manchester City (4-4-2): James; Mills, Dunne, Distin, Jordan; S Wright-Phillips, Bosvelt, Barton, Sibierski; Macken (B Wright-Phillips, 72), Fowler (Anelka, 72). Substitutes not used: Waterreus (gk), Onuoha, Flood.

Tottenham Hostpur (4-4-2): Robinson; Pamarot, Naybet (Gardner, h-t), King, Atouba; Mendes (Kelly, h-t), Brown, Carrick, Ricketts (Redknapp, 81); Keane, Kanouté. Substitutes not used: Fulop (gk), Yeates.

Referee: D Gallagher (Oxon).

Booked: Manchester City: Jordan. Tottenham: Naybet, Kelly.

Man of the match: Brown.

Attendance: 45,805.