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Stefan Ortega: Manchester City keeper proves hero as title looms

Yet Ortega stayed strong, stayed on his feet, waited for Son to make his move before stretching out his right leg to make the save that may well seal another Premier League triumph.

Guardiola, who clearly feared the worst, threw himself on his back dramatically in his technical area in an animated display of agony and then sheer relief, while Manchester City captain Kyle Walker likened Ortega, and the save, to the keeper’s fellow countryman, Bayern Munich icon Manuel Neuer. Praise indeed.

It was Spurs’ last stand as Erling Haaland added his second of the night from the penalty spot in added time for his 38th goal of the season. If City beat West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, the formalities will be complete.

Haaland may grab some headlines as his remarkable goalscoring feats continue, despite this season not being quite as prolific as his first, but Ortega was top of the bill. The keeper’s involvement was short and sweet but spectacular and probably decisive.

He was needed because this was not City at their peak but they are so well schooled in being in this position that a muscle memory kicks in to ensure they get the job done at the season’s pressure points.

Since City lost at Aston Villa in December, they are unbeaten in 22 Premier League games, winning 18 and drawing four in the sort of unstoppable surge that threatens to break Arsenal’s hearts in the same way they have also broken Liverpool’s on the final day of the season in previous years.

Experience means their players appear impervious to the natural pressures and when you possess players of the quality of Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne, allied to their telepathic relationship, there always remains the capacity to make the difference.

And so it proved in the 51st minute for the vital opener, De Bruyne providing the 112th assist of his City career to lay a goal on a plate for Haaland.

It still needed the outstanding intervention of Ortega, who will long be remembered by his grateful manager and colleagues as they raced to him to show their appreciation before the celebrations started in front of the joyous travelling fans.

City are now in the position they have occupied so often and one from which they rarely slip.

It would be a shock to see them stumble now – and so much of the credit for that must go to Ortega.

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