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Ortega Moreno’s humble verdict on vital title-defining Spurs save

Ortega Moreno’s humble verdict on vital title-defining Spurs save
Ortega Moreno’s humble verdict on vital title-defining Spurs save

Stefan Ortega Moreno has reminisced about his title-defining save from Son Heung-min in the crunch clash at Tottenham, stressing the attention thrust upon him was ‘too much’ because he was just doing his job.

Ortega Moreno came off the bench in the penultimate game of the 2023/24 campaign against bogey team, Tottenham, with the game delicately balanced at 1-0 to City.

Victory was essential with three points keeping the race for a fourth successive crown in our own hands, with Arsenal piling on the pressure as they eyed a first title in 20 years.

But with moments remaining, Spurs striker Son ran through on goal after a mistake by Manuel Akanji but Ortega denied the free-scoring forward with a fine close-range save.

Erling Haaland doubled our advantage in stoppage time to make it 2-0 and we saw off West Ham on the final day to become history makers.

The superb stop led to a plethora of plaudits with manager Pep Guardiola – who fell to the floor in panic when Son ran through - stressing that Ortega Moreno’s contribution couldn’t be underestimated.

Ortega Moreno, who has today signed a one-year contract extension, said he wasn’t comfortable being centre of attention.

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“To be fair it was a bit too much for me,” said our No.18.

“I don't like to be the main person because at the end it's just what I'm doing every day.

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“I try to save balls. And at the end it's not more than that.”

While he wasn’t keen to accentuate his own role in our first-ever Premier League victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, he did accept that the result was crucial in the destiny of the title race.

“I think everyone knew after the game there is no reason to lose the Premier League because before, this game was like the main game for the Premier League because everyone was talking about this game, how tough Tottenham is,” he continued.

“We had just scored the first goal [at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium] in the FA Cup so I knew it was not our favourite place where we play.

“So after the game it was just like happy faces. The pressure was a bit gone so it was a nice and easy celebration.”

It's not the only time Ortega Moreno has been called into action from the bench this past season.

In fact, in total, the German came on for Ederson four times in the 2023/24 campaign – all away games - against Newcastle in the 3-2 away win, Liverpool in a 1-1 Anfield draw, a 2-0 victory at Nottingham Forest and the 2-0 win at Tottenham.

Modest again, Ortega Moreno stressed these substitute appearances offered no issues for him.

“First of all to play in this team, it is easy,” he added. “Because the quality here is so high so this is one point, the other point is like I said before, it's just what I want to do and what I do every day.

“And it's just like the surroundings are a bit different but this is what we want - to play in big stadiums, nice atmospheres, for trophies so there is no point for me to be scared or nervous.”

Despite his reluctance to emphasise his own role, the goalkeeper certainly enjoyed the aftermath of securing the title.

He lifted the lid on the emotions circulating in the Etihad home dressing room as the Hammers were seen off and the celebrations began.

“A lot,” he said when asked how special the landmark moment was.

“I remember after the West Ham game, when I saw all the players who reached the four Premier Leagues in a row just the faces, how happy they were, it was really nice to be a part of it.

“And especially now this season I felt that I bought a bit more than last season. So yeah it was another great year.”