Riyad Mahrez sent Manchester City back to the top of the Premier League with a sixth-minute winner as Pep Guardiola’s team overcame Tottenham, and a woeful Wembley pitch, to secure a 1-0 victory.
Mahrez, a £50 million summer signing from Leicester, scored from close range after Raheem Sterling had capitalised on a defensive mistake by Spurs full-back Kieran Trippier to cross for the Algerian. Mahrez then celebrated by pointing to the skies, a gesture he confirmed after the match was a tribute to Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who was killed in a helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
The victory extended City’s unbeaten start to the season and moved them back ahead of Liverpool on goal difference at the top of the table.
But it was not straightforward for Pep Guardiola’s team, with Spurs enjoying a late second-half rally that almost saw them equalise through Erik Lamela. Having been teed up by Dele Alli, however, the Spurs winger sent his shot high over the crossbar after it appeared to bobble off the surface.
Spurs were forced to host this game just 24 hours after the Philadelphia Eagles played the Jacksonville Jaguars in an NFL game at Wembley and the pitch was poor, both visually and technically. Both teams struggled to keep the ball on the ground, with large areas looking threadbare following Sunday’s action.
But City managed the conditions better than Spurs and they ultimately claimed a deserved three points.