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Spurs 3-4 Manchester City: 12 Years Since Epic Blues Comeback

Alex Livesey/Getty Images


The 2004 FA Cup tie against Tottenham, twelve years ago today, took place twenty three years after that FA Cup Final defeat and ninety five years after our first meeting with Spurs. City had one of the greatest comebacks in FA Cup history in that game with so many things going against them. 3-0 down and with Joey Barton sent off at half time it was not looking great for Kevin Keegan's side.


Nicolas Anelka had scored City's goal in the 1-1 draw in Manchester, leading to this replay in London a few days later. Sandwiched in between was a defeat by Arsenal in the League before the trip to White Hart Lane.
City gave a debut to the Icelandic goalkeeper, Arni Arason who was beaten in the second minute by a Ledley King strike. Robbie Keane made it two before Joey Barton was booked, a minute or so before half time, for a foul on ex blue, Michael Brown. Christian Ziege scored from that free kick to see the home side enter half time with a three goal lead.


As the players were leaving the pitch, Joey Barton continued to argue with the referee, who promptly issued a second yellow card and the dismissal of Barton.


When the players emerged for the start of the second half with visiting fans chanting that City would win the cup.
A Sylvan Distin header reduced the deficit minutes after the restart before Paul Bosvelt saw a deflected shot go in after the hour mark to change the song from one of sarcasm to one of true belief.


Shaun Wright Philips beat the offside trap to chip City level with ten minutes left and only seconds remained when Jon Macken scored with a header to send the City fans delirious.


City would go on to face Manchester United in the next round where their cup run ended. At that point in history City were a team closer to the bottom three than top four but that fightback still lives long in the memory of City fans and is eclipsed only by the comeback in the playoff final in 1999 and the title winning comeback of 2012.