City seal top-four spot

City seal top-four spot

Crouchs own goal dashes Tottenhams CL hopes

A first-half own goal by Spurs striker Peter Crouch handed City victory, an irony not lost on the jubilant home fans who only a year ago watched him score the winner to give the London side a Champions League playoff spot at their team's expense.

The win gave Roberto Mancini's expensively assembled outfit their first crack at the Champions League and ended Tottenham's hopes of another season in Europe's elite club competition.

"I'm happy because this was our first target," said Mancini. "I think we deserve the Champions League because we were in the top between first and fourth position all season.

City could still finish higher than fourth to go straight into the Champions League group stage. If they end the season in fourth place, which would be their highest ever Premier League finish, they will face an early-season two-legged playoff.

With two games left, Mancini's side have 65 points, two behind third-placed Arsenal and five adrift of Chelsea, who are second. Their neighbours Manchester United (76 points) need just one point to secure a record 19th English league title.

Eastlands erupted on the final whistle to celebrate the feat, which provides a boost before Saturday's FA Cup final against Stoke City, where the Manchester side will be aiming to win their first trophy for 35 years.

It was a dogged display by City against a Spurs side who had most of the ball but were punished for wasting chances like Luka Modric's excellent first-half opening when he shot just wide.

Tottenham's very slim hopes of qualifying for the European competition they lit up this season with some exciting football and dramatic comebacks on the way to the quarterfinals, were extinguished by Crouch's blunder after half an hour.

Following a short corner, City midfielder James Milner's low ball into the cluttered box was turned in by Tottenham's England striker who held his head in his hands in disgust.