Spurs enjoyed a similarly positive first-half lead when they last faced City on Jan. 19 before conceding four goals in a second-half collapse, but the North London club changed the script this time out. City piled on pressure in a fast-paced, end-to-end second half but were frustrated by a resolute Spurs defence.
City striker Erling Haaland failed to register a shot on target, and the closest City came to scoring was a Riyad Mahrez effort that smashed against the underside of the crossbar in first-half stoppage time.
The home side faced a nervy final period when defender Cristian Romero was shown a second yellow card and sent off for a clumsy tackle on Jack Grealish on 88 minutes, but still they managed to secure their lead and an important three points.
City had been hoping to capitalise on Premier League leaders Arsenal suffering a loss away to relegation-threatened Everton on Saturday. Sunday’s result means Arsenal, who have a game in hand, remain five points clear of City.
Spurs were without coach Antonio Conte, who underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove his gallbladder. They are now fifth on 39 points from 22 games, one point behind Newcastle United.
Guardiola made some surprising changes in his starting lineup, including leaving Kevin De Bruyne on bench, which he told Sky Sports before the match was a “tactical” decision. De Bruyne was subbed on for Mahrez on the hour mark.
Sunday’s result means Guardiola remains without a win in five attempts at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium — the longest away losing streak against an opponent of his managerial career.
After the match, Guardiola bemoaned the travel involved in travelling away to the English capital.
“Coming to London is like going to, I don’t know, northern Europe. It is 4 hours 20 minutes, 4 hours and a half to get to a hotel. It’s so exhausting to come to London, I’m sorry. We need to come back to Manchester and prepare the game against Aston Villa,” Guardiola said.
Information from Reuters and ESPN correspondent James Olley contributed to this report.