Stefan Ortega’s 30-Minute Cameo Saved Man City In Historic EPL Title Race With Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Premier League / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

Manchester City is on the cusp of scripting history by winning its fourth English Premier League title in a row after Pep Guardiola managed side outplayed Tottenham Hotspur in a title-defining game last week.

A full-fledged Man City side were made to hustle in the first half by Spurs before Erling Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne’s partnership propelled City 1-0 in the 51st minute.

However, a deadly tackle with Christian Romero left Ederson nearly concussed and Pep decided to sub him with Stefan Ortega as a precautionary measure. While Ederson wasn’t pleased with the sub, Pep knew it was the right call given the goalkeeper’s injury extent.

Ederson, Stefan Ortega
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Premier League / Julian Finney/GettyImages

What followed was nothing short of a scene from a dramatic fiction movie. In the 86th minute, Spur captain Son received a counter pass from Johnson, and he raced away with it alone with no defender to guard him. Meanwhile, Ortega anticipated Son’s move and outstretched his right leg to not only block the game-tying goal but also save Man City from losing the EPL title to Arsenal.

With Haaland’s penalty in injury time, Man City finished their penultimate fixture of the PL 2023-24 season with a 2-0 win and reclaimed the top spot on the table.

Needless to say, Ortega’s save proved to be title-defining for City. Had they lost the game, Arsenal would have cruised through comfortably. Even manager Pep Guardiola admitted while talking to The Guardian that Ortega was the difference maker in City’s historic title-winning aspirations as the margins with Arsenal were tight. 

Pep added that outplaying Spurs at their home was the only challenge that they hadn’t overcome in these past few years. The manager revealed that his dramatic reaction to Son’s counterattack stemmed from the countless horrific memories of City’s earlier visits to Tottenham. 

But at least the Cityzens prevailed that too, in a virtual knockout game of a tense title-winning race.

"“He saves us – otherwise Arsenal are champions. That is the reality. The margins are so tight. The save from Son. It was incredible. One-on-one, Stefan is one of the best keepers I’ve seen in my life. It’s the German culture – stand up, don’t go down.”"

Pep Guardiola


For Ortega, from joining Man City back in 2022 when even Pep hadn’t even heard of his name to potentially aid the team’s historic title win, his life came full circle. 

In the past year, his opportunities witnessed a steep rise in the aftermath of Ederson’s injuries and Ortega hasn’t missed a single chance to reflect his impeccable talent and go for the kill attitude.

As Manchester City lifts its historic fourth EPL title in a row, Stefan Ortega will have a separate space in the history books for his iconic save that will be remembered by generations.