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Pep Guardiola hails Stefan Ortega’s ‘incredible’ save as Arsenal fans agonize in title race’s sliding doors moment

Stefan Ortega was Manchester City’s unlikely hero with what could prove to be a title-winning save.

The German goalkeeper is used to being Ederson’s understudy at Man City, but was called upon in the second half when the Brazilian was sent off after suffering a suspected concussion.

Ortega was the star of the show for Man City on a huge night in the title race

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Ortega was the star of the show for Man City on a huge night in the title raceCredit: Getty

While Ederson wasn’t exactly impressed with his start, Ortega relished his opportunity with three stunning saves, one of which is dubbed a sliding doors moment in the title race.

With Heung-min Son playing through goal, Ortega produced 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 claim the penalty victory, but while the goal machine will be given credit, it was Ortega who may have just cost Arsenal their first Premier League title in 20 years.

His role in the victory was clear at full time with Ruben Dias and Mateo Kovacic running straight towards 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 has done his job in showing what an incredible goalkeeper he is.

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

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

“It’s football. We have the best striker in the world and today he made the difference and people are talking about him but Stefan was just incredible.

Ortega replaced Ederson following his head hit

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Ortega replaced Ederson following his head hitCredit: Getty
Man City now holds the cards in the Premier League title race

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Man City now holds the cards in the Premier League title race

“We were leading 1-0 and his three saves, I have no words.

“Of course Eddy (Ederson) was frustrated, but the substitution made sense because he had a concussion.”

Jason Cundy calls Jamie O’Hara a ‘disgrace’ for wanting Tottenham to lose to Manchester City and prevent Arsenal from winning the Premier League

Rodri wasn’t the only player to praise Ortega, however, with Kyle Walker comparing him to one of the greatest of all time.

He told Sky Sports: “Stefan, he has that gap, doesn’t he? He reminds me of Manuel Neuer – German goalkeepers have that gap.

“Manu (Akanji) was great all night and it’s a fool’s law that one mistake can end in a goal, but he has that gap and his big calves came into play.

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

Guardiola hailed Ortega as

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Guardiola hailed Ortega as ‘incredible’ after his exploitsCredit: Getty

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

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

As for Arsenal fans, it’s a save that could stick in their minds for many years to come.

One fan said: “Absolutely gutted by this result. Can’t blame Tottenham for being fair. They fought harder than I thought. It wasn’t meant to be this season. Proud of the ‘team despite everything. (This son, miss, will keep me up all night).”

This is how Guardiola looked when Son scored

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This is how Guardiola looked when Son scoredCredit: Sky Sports
Ortega, the hero of the moment

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Ortega, the hero of the momentCredit: Getty

Another said: “I can’t believe Son missed this face-off.”

While this fan said, “Heung-min Son, you entered the room of my nightmares.”

Man City will win their fourth consecutive Premier League title with a home win over West Ham, while Arsenal will now be praying for a mistake as they take on Everton.

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