Pep Guardiola hails ‘incredible’ Stefan Ortega save as Arsenal fans agonise at title race sliding doors moment

Stefan Ortega was the unlikely hero for Manchester City with what could prove to be a title-winning save in the 2-0 win over Tottenham.

The German goalkeeper is used to being Ederson’s understudy at Man City but got the call during the second half against Tottenham on Tuesday night when the Brazilian was brought off after suffering a suspected concussion.

While Ederson was less-than impressed at being taken off, Ortega relished his opportunity with three stunning stops, one of which is being dubbed as a sliding doors moment in the title race.

With Heung-min Son played through on goal, Ortega pulled off a world-class save to deny the South Korean star, keeping the score at 1-0 at the time thanks to Erling Haaland’s effort.

That paved the way for Haaland to wrap up the win from the penalty spot, but while the goal-machine will get credit, it’s Ortega who may just have cost Arsenal their first Premier League title in 20 years.

His role in the win was clear at full-time with Ruben Dias and Mateo Kovacic running straight to him once the referee blew the whistle, while Guardiola and Haaland could be seen congratulating him moments later.

Speaking to talkSPORT, Pep Guardiola said: “Stefan did his job in showing what an incredible keeper he is.

“These days in football you have to have two or even three incredible goalkeepers because Ederson this season had three or four injury setbacks.”

Rodri echoed those sentiments immediately after full-time, saying to Sky Sports: “Stefan, he saved us.

“This is football. We have the best striker in the world and today he made the difference and people talk about him but Stefan was simply incredible.

“We were 1-0 up and his three saves, I have no words. Of course Eddy (Ederson) was frustrated but the substitution made sense because he had a concussion.”

Rodri wasn’t the only player to heap praise on Ortega though, with Kyle Walker comparing him to one of the all-time greats.

He told Sky Sports: “Stefan, he’s got that spread hasn’t he? He reminds me of Manuel Neuer – the German goalkeepers have got that spread.

“Manu (Akanji) was great all night and it’s sod’s law that one mistake can end up in a goal but he’s got that spread and his big calves came into play.

“I bet his heart was in his mouth, but I was just thinking ‘no, not again’.

“For Sonny, we’ve spent so much time together at Tottenham and so for him to do it to me – he’s the nicest man in football – so for him to do it to me, I don’t think I could have forgiven him.

“But the stars aligned for us and we’ve got a chance to go and do it in the last game of the season.”

As for the Arsenal fans, well it’s a save that may stay in their heads for many years to come.

One fan said: “Absolutely gutted with that result. Can’t fault Tottenham to be fair. They did put up more of a fight than I thought they would. It wasn’t meant to be this season. Proud of the team regardless. (That Son miss will keep me up all night).”

Another said: “Can’t believe Son missed that one on one.”

While this fan said: “Heung-min Son, you’ve entered the hall of my nightmare misses.”

Man City will secure their fourth consecutive Premier League title with a victory at home to West Ham, while Arsenal will now be praying for a slip-up as they take on Everton.

SOURCE: Football News, Transfers, Opinion – talkSPORT   (go to source)
AUTHOR: Phil Spencer
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