Manchester City start title defence with defeat


London, Aug 16 (AP): Son Heung-min made up for the absence of Harry Kane by scoring a second-half winner to give Tottenham a 1-0 win over defending champion Manchester City on Sunday in their opening game of the Premier League season.
With Kane left out of Tottenham’s team altogether amid continued speculation about a pending move to City, Son led the attack instead and showed that Spurs still have a top-class scorer to count on.
Son finished off a quick counterattack in the 55th minute and Tottenham effectively neutralized City’s many attacking threats to give new manager Nuno Espirito Santo a statement victory on his debut.
Kane’s absence was the big pregame talking point, although Nuno insisted the decision was made solely because the England striker only returned to full training on Friday after his holiday.
Kane has reportedly told Tottenham he wants to leave, with City manager Pep Guardiola previously acknowledging that his club is “very interested” in buying him. Based on this performance, City’s expensively assembled squad could use a finisher — especially after letting Sergio Aguero leave on a free transfer this summer.
City dominated possession but struggled to break down a disciplined Tottenham side, which was content to sit back and wait for opportunities to counter.
City’s record signing Jack Grealish showed early flashes of his abilities — breaking forward in the opening minutes to draw a free kick just outside the area — but missed his best chance to score when his shot from a tight angle was easily saved by Hugo Lloris in the 75th.
Riyad Mahrez had City’s best chance of the game in the 35th when he met a cross from Raheem Sterling but shot wide after failing to cleanly connect with the ball.
Son had already threatened on a couple of counters by the time he put Spurs ahead. The South Korea international collected the ball down the right flank, drove at defender Nathan Ake and then cut inside to bend a low shot inside the far post.
Steven Bergwijn had a great chance to double the lead on another counterattack just before the hour mark, but shot wide.
Guardiola brought Kevin de Bruyne off the bench in search of an equalizer and the Belgian forced a save from Lloris with a dipping shot from distance in the 84th.


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