Man City Crowned Premier League Champions After Man Utd Defeat

Manchester City fans, Ian Leonard and his son Jack celebrate winning the Premier League title outside the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 11, 2021, after their closest challengers for the title Manchester United, lost to Leicester City this evening. Paul ELLIS / AFP
Manchester City fans, Ian Leonard and his son Jack celebrate winning the Premier League title outside the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 11, 2021, after their closest challengers for the title Manchester United, lost to Leicester City this evening. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions for the third time in four seasons after Manchester United crashed to a 2-1 defeat against Leicester on Tuesday.

Pep Guardiola’s side are 10 points clear of second placed United and have wrapped up the title with three games to spare.

In the midst of a gruelling run of three games in five days, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer effectively handed the title to arch rivals City by picking a weakened team with 10 changes.

With many of City’s players watching on television, Luke Thomas’ 10th minute volley put Leicester ahead before Mason Greenwood equalised five minutes later.

Caglar Soyuncu’s towering header in the 66th minute ensured City could pop the champagne corks for a title party that has seemed inevitable for months.

City were denied the chance to celebrate on Sunday when Chelsea won 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium, while United kept them waiting with a victory at Aston Villa on Sunday.

But the delay was only temporary and City, who also won the League Cup in April, can finally savour a title triumph that is all the sweeter given the obstacles they have overcome this term.

Treble-chasing City’s seventh top-flight title could be the prelude to an even greater triumph on May 29 when they face Chelsea in their first ever Champions League final.

Drained by the late finish to last season and ill-prepared due to the subsequent lack of a proper pre-season, City were slow out of the blocks.

Leicester City's players react at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on May 11, 2021. Dave Thompson / POOL / AFP
Leicester City’s players react at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on May 11, 2021. Dave Thompson / POOL / AFP

 

After a dismal 1-1 draw against lowly West Bromwich Albion in December, City had won just five of their opening 12 Premier League games.

It was the worst start to a season of Guardiola’s managerial career, prompting the Spaniard in the startling admission that he didn’t like his team.

A coronavirus outbreak in the squad added to Guardiola’s problems in December.

Having surrendered the title meekly to Liverpool the previous season, it seemed City were heading for a period of regression.

But Guardiola masterminded such a superb recovery that City turned the title race into a procession, giving him three Premier League crowns to go with three La Liga trophies with Barcelona and three at Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

Dominant Dias

One of keys to City’s success has been the inspired form of Ruben Dias, who has transformed Guardiola’s defence since arriving from Benfica in August.

The Portugal centre-back’s rock-solid partnership with the revitalised John Stones laid the title foundations.

Even without club record goalscorer Sergio Aguero for long periods due to fitness issues, City have been a potent force.

File photo: (l to R) Manchester City’s French defender Aymeric Laporte, Manchester City’s Portuguese defender Ruben Dias and Manchester City’s English defender Kyle Walker react after the UEFA Champions League, last 16, 1st-leg football match Borussia Moenchengladbach v Manchester City at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on February 24, 2021. (Photo by Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP)

 

The emergence of England playmaker Phil Foden as a match-winning force was crucial, with Kevin De Bruyne as consistent as ever despite battling injuries.

Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez produced spells of lethal finishing, while dynamic full-back Joao Cancelo wreaked havoc with his attacking bursts.

Manchester United and Chelsea appear poised for strong title challenges next season and Liverpool are likely to improve after an injury-hit campaign.

But, after the exits of City legends David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure in recent years, Guardiola has created a new generation capable of reigning supreme for years to come.

Guardiola’s latest Premier League success gives him an astonishing 26 major trophies in his managerial career.

With two trophies already secured this season, the City boss can focus on completing a memorable treble by winning his club’s first Champions League crown.

He will have his work cut out after Thomas Tuchel’s side won the last two meetings between the sides, including the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

For all Guardiola’s protestations that domestic success is the most significant achievement, it is the Champions League that remains his holy grail.

The 50-year-old has not won the tournament since the second of his triumphs with Barcelona in 2011, leading to belittling claims Argentina superstar Lionel Messi was the key to those Champions League victories rather than the coach.

Taking City to the Champions League title in their maiden final appearance would be a glorious way for Guardiola to silence his critics once and for all.

 

AFP

Man City Eye Title Glory As United Face Aston Villa

Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling (3rd L) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 8, 2021.
Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP

 

Manchester City will be crowned Premier League champions if their arch rivals Manchester United lose at Aston Villa on Sunday, while Brighton blew a chance to secure their survival in a dramatic 2-1 defeat at Wolves.

Pep Guardiola’s side missed a chance to seal the title when they lost 2-1 against Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, but Marcos Alonso’s late winner will only temporarily delay their celebrations.

City are 13 points clear of second placed United, who have five games left including their trip to Villa Park.

United play three times over the coming week — against Villa, Leicester and Liverpool — and a defeat in any of those matches would seal the title for City before the leaders next play at Newcastle on Friday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side would love to keep City waiting for the title as long as possible.

The Europa League finalists also want to wrap up a second place finish, which would be their highest end of season position in the Premier League since Solskjaer took charge in December 2018.

But City have turned the title race into a procession since the new year and it is only a matter of time before they are crowned English champions for a third time in four seasons.

Pep Guardiola’s team have enjoyed a remarkable revival after a spluttering start to the season.

After a 1-1 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion in mid-December, City had won just five of their opening 12 Premier League games and started their next match at Southampton 11 points adrift of defending champions Liverpool.

It was the worst start of Guardiola’s managerial career, but since a transformative 3-1 victory at Chelsea on January 3, City have left their rivals trailing in their wake.

That was the start of a run of 18 successive wins in all competitions, a record sequence for an English top-flight club.

They have also won their last 18 away games in all competitions, also a record a team from England’s top tier.

City’s achievements have been even more impressive given the issues posed by a frantic fixture list amid the coronavirus pandemic.

– Brighton rocked –

In Sunday’s early game at Molineux, Brighton took the lead after 13 minutes when Lewis Dunk headed in Pascal Gross’ corner.

Graham Potter’s side needed a victory to be sure of avoiding relegation.

But Brighton captain Dunk was sent off in the 53rd minute after he pulled back Fabio Silva as the Wolves forward raced through on goal.

Wolves made the most of their numerical advantage in the 76th minute as Adama Traore fired home after exchanging passes with Silva.

Brighton were unable to hold on and Morgan Gibbs-White won it for Wolves in the 90th minute with a fine finish for his first Premier League goal.

Adding to Brighton’s woes, French striker Neal Maupay was sent off for foul and abusive language after the final whistle.

The Seagulls are 10 points above the relegation zone, with third bottom Fulham, who have four games left, playing Burnley on Monday.

Later, fifth-placed West Ham host Everton as they bid to close the gap on fourth-placed Leicester.

The Hammers, making an unexpected charge for Champions League qualification, are five points behind Leicester, who lost to Newcastle on Friday.

Troubled Arsenal, who crashed out of the Europa League against Villarreal on Thursday, face second-bottom West Bromwich Albion in Sunday’s final game.

West Brom, 10 points from safety with four games left, will be relegated if they lose at the Emirates Stadium.

Chelsea Beat Man City To Delay Premier League Title Party

Chelsea's Spanish defender Marcos Alonso (2nd R) shoots to score their late winner during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 8, 2021. Chelsea won the game 2-1. Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP
Chelsea’s Spanish defender Marcos Alonso (2nd R) shoots to score their late winner during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 8, 2021. Chelsea won the game 2-1.
Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP

 

Chelsea forced Manchester City to put their Premier League title party on hold on Saturday, winning 2-1 to boost their own chances of a top-four finish in a dress rehearsal for the Champions League final.

Raheem Sterling gave the home side the lead just before half-time at an empty Etihad Stadium but Hakim Ziyech levelled and Marcos Alonso bundled in the winner in the dying seconds.

City could be crowned champions before they play again. Second-placed Manchester United face three matches before Guardiola’s men are next in action, against Newcastle on Friday.

The point lifts Chelsea into third spot, six clear of fifth-placed West Ham with just three games to go.

Thomas Tuchel’s in-form team ended City’s dreams of a historic quadruple by beating them in the FA Cup semi-final last month and they once more proved tricky opponents.

City, who have a huge 13-point advantage over second-placed Manchester United, are certain to win their third Premier League title in four years but must now wait for it to be confirmed.

Pep Guardiola made nine changes from the side that saw off Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final in midweek, with Ederson and Ruben Dias the only players to keep their places.

Chelsea made five changes following their triumph over Real Madrid.

The home side dominated possession in the early stages, with Ferran Torres firing over after a thrust down the right and Benjamin Mendy shooting wide.

Raheem Sterling was booked in the 12th minute after catching Timo Werner with his studs but the punishment could have been worse.

Werner had the ball in the net just after the half-hour but he was well offside and Sterling had a shot at the other end but clear-cut chances were at a premium.

Ziyech tested Ederson in the City goal as the half-time break neared but moments later the home side were ahead.

Gabriel Jesus shrugged off Andreas Christensen to break into the area. He squared, looking for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine’s touch was poor but Sterling was on hand to tuck home.

City should have been 2-0 in first-half stoppage time but Aguero paid the price for attempting a Panenka penalty that was easily saved by Edouard Mendy, drawing the ire of Guardiola.

Jesus won the spot-kick when he was bundled over by Billy Gilmour.

Chelsea fightback

As the second half wore on the visitors started to establish a foothold and they equalised just after the hour when Rodri lost possession on the halfway line.

Chelsea broke down the right and Cesar Azpilicueta picked out Ziyech just outside the area. The Moroccan drilled a low shot into the bottom corner.

Guardiola threw on Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden for Torres and Aguero as his side went in search of the win.

Chelsea substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi had the ball in the net with about 10 minutes to go but the goal was ruled out for a marginal offside.

The finish was frantic. Sterling had a penalty appeal turned down and Alonso then grabbed a last-gasp winner after an assist from Werner.

Tuchel has transformed Chelsea’s fortunes since replacing Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge in January, losing just two matches on his way to the FA Cup final and Champions League final.

Their remaining three league matches are against Arsenal, Leicester — their FA Cup final opponents — and Aston Villa but they will now be strongly fancied to qualify for the Champions League for the third season in a row.

 

AFP

 

Man City’s Raheem Sterling Abused Online After Social Media Boycott

Crystal Palace’s English defender Tyrick Mitchell (L) vies with Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City at Selhurst Park in south London on May 1, 2021. (Photo by CLIVE ROSE / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has been racially abused on Instagram less than 48 hours after the Premier League’s social media boycott ended.

Sterling suffered the abuse following City’s Champions League semi-final second leg victory against Paris St Germain on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said: “The racist abuse sent to Raheem Sterling is unacceptable and we do not want it on Instagram.

“We have removed the comment and taken action against the account that posted it.

“As part of our ongoing work in this space, we’ll soon be rolling out new tools to help prevent people seeing abusive messages from strangers.

“No single thing will fix this challenge overnight but we’re committed to doing what we can to keep our community safe from abuse.”

Premier League clubs and players stayed off social media over the weekend in protest at the barrage of abuse suffered by top-flight stars in recent years.

Sterling has been the target of abuse on social media on several occasions in the past.

A study commissioned by the Professional Footballers’ Association published last October looked at social media posts directed towards 44 players during the ‘Project Restart’ period of last season.

It found more than 3,000 explicitly abusive messages were directed at those players publicly via Twitter, with 50 per cent of those messages aimed at just three players — Sterling, Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and Wycombe’s Adebayo Akinfenwa.

 

 

Sterling said at the time: “I don’t know how many times I need to say this, but football and the social media platforms need to step up, show real leadership and take proper action in tackling online abuse.

“The technology is there to make a difference, but I’m increasingly questioning if there is the will.”

Guardiola Exorcises Champions League Demons To Lead Man City To First Final

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola looks on from the sidelines during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester City at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on July 5, 2020.
Frank Augstein / POOL / AFP

 

 

After a decade of disappointment, Pep Guardiola is back in a Champions League final and just one game away from delivering on his task to make Manchester City champions of Europe for the first time.

In the battle between two clubs with seemingly endless resources but no Champions League titles to their name, City kept their cool to beat Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 on aggregate as the French champions paid for losing their heads in both legs of the semi-final tie.

Riyad Mahrez, born and raised in Paris, scored twice to secure a 2-0 win for City in Tuesday’s second leg before Angel di Maria’s red card for lashing out at Fernandinho rounded off another miserable European exit for the French champions.

A first Champions League final for City, against Real Madrid or Chelsea in Istanbul, is the culmination of the club’s rise since an Abu Dhabi takeover in 2008 transformed their fortunes.

In the coming days, they will seal a fifth Premier League title in the past 10 years.

Once dubbed the “noisy neighbours” by legendary former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, City are now not just the dominant force in Manchester but also in English football.

By the end of the month, the mix of Emirati wealth and Guardiola’s coaching may have also conquered Europe.

“Of course we invest a lot of money since Sheikh Mansour took over, but it is not just this,” said Guardiola. “It is a lot of incredible things behind the scenes.

“Reaching the final of the Champions League, helps us realise in the bigger picture what we have done in the last four years. What we have done these four years is incredible.”

– ‘Remarkable’ consistency –
Since a difficult first year in England, Guardiola has led City to four League Cups, an FA Cup and the brink of a third Premier League title in four seasons.

However, until now, that domestic success always came with the caveat of Champions League collapses.

Guardiola has won the competition twice before as a coach during his time at Barcelona, but not since 2011.

City did not even progress beyond the last eight in his first four seasons in charge.

It was a similar story for the Catalan in his three years at Bayern Munich between 2013 and 2016 as three Bundesliga titles were overshadowed by three semi-final exits to Spanish opposition.

“People believe because it happened in the past I have to arrive every year in the final of the Champions League,” added Guardiola.

“This is a little bit unfair because the consistency these guys have shown in every competition these last four or five years is remarkable.”

City exorcised many of their Champions League demons against PSG.

Missed chances, controversial refereeing decisions and sloppy defending frequently combined to cost them in recent seasons.

This time an early penalty awarded against Oleksandr Zinchenko was overturned after a VAR review, Mahrez was deadly with his two chances and City’s much-improved defence withstood a first-half barrage.

“The first-half they were so good but we defended so well. We defend all together, helped each other,” said Guardiola after a 31st clean sheet of the season.

“To reach the final in this competition is so difficult. It is the toughest one for the quality of the opponents, the composure you have to have and to suffer the toughest moments. We did it.”

Win one more game on May 29 and Guardiola will be among a select band of just three other managers — Bob Paisley, Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane — to win the European Cup three times.

With already 25 major trophies to his name in just 12 seasons in charge of Barca, Bayern and City, the 50-year-old can silence any lasting doubters and cement his status as one of the greatest coaches of all-time with victory in Istanbul.

Mahrez Double Takes Man City Into First Champions League Final

Manchester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League second leg semi-final football match between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 4, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Pep Guardiola said Manchester City’s first ever Champions League final had been five years in the making after Riyad Mahrez’s double saw off Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 on Tuesday to seal a 4-1 semi-final aggregate win.

City will look to set the seal on a third Premier League title in the past four seasons in the coming days as they remain on course for a treble, having already lifted the League Cup.

But their previous four Champions League campaigns under Guardiola ended in anguish before the semi-final stage.

Guardiola has won the competition twice before as a coach during his time at Barcelona.

However, the Catalan has also endured a decade of disappointment in Europe’s premier club competition since.

“It is for all of us and the club. I’m incredibly proud,” said Guardiola. “Getting to the final now makes sense of what we have done in the past four or five years. Every day these guys have been consistent and this is remarkable.”

Manchester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez (L) celebrates scoring the opening goal with Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne during the UEFA Champions League second leg semi-final football match between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 4, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Mahrez’s goal also decided the first leg and the Algerian, who grew up in the Parisian suburbs, haunted his home town team again with two clinical finishes early in each half.

The final in Istanbul on May 29 against Real Madrid or Chelsea is the culmination of City’s rise since an Abu Dhabi takeover in 2008 transformed the club’s fortunes.

Meanwhile, four years on from making Neymar and Kylian Mbappe the world’s two most expensive players, PSG’s wait for a first Champions League title goes on.

Mbappe could only watch on from the stands due to a calf injury as, just like in last week’s first leg, his side imploded after an excellent first-half performance.

The visitors were left to rue huge missed chances by Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria in between Mahrez’s strikes before Di Maria lashed out at Fernandinho to leave PSG down to 10 men for the final 20 minutes.

“We started really well, creating chances and dominating Manchester City,” said PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino. “That’s not easy. Not many teams can dominate a team like Manchester City.”

However, the Argentine, who had to come onto the pitch to calm his players after Di Maria saw red, admitted his side’s indiscipline had cost them.

Idrissa Gueye was also sent off late in the first leg for a shocking challenge on Ilkay Gundogan.

“Over the 180 minutes, for 40 or 45 minutes we played with 10 men,” added Pochettino. “That’s a massive advantage.”

The French champions thought they had an early penalty to get back in the tie when Oleksandr Zinchenko was penalised for handball.

However, Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers rightly reversed his initial decision on seeing a replay of the ball bouncing off the Ukrainian’s shoulder.

Zinchenko was heavily involved again when the opening goal arrived at the other end.

He raced onto City goalkeeper Ederson’s thunderous long pass into the PSG area. Zinchenko’s cut-back found Kevin De Bruyne and after the Belgian’s shot was blocked, Mahrez pounced to slot home on his weaker right foot.

The tie was still far from over as PSG penned City back and should have been at least level on the night before half-time.

Marquinhos has made a habit of scoring big Champions League goals and the Brazilian was inches away from another when his looping header came back off the crossbar.

Ederson then nearly undid his good work as Di Maria intercepted his hurried throw to Bernardo Silva and flashed a shot inches wide with the Brazilian ‘keeper stranded outside his goal.

 Neymar nullified

Pochettino will wonder what could have been had Mbappe been fit with his replacement Icardi ineffective.

Neymar only ever showed flashes of his brilliance with City’s impressive defence led by Ruben Dias able to focus on stopping the Brazilian without Mbappe to worry about.

Guardiola’s men have always shown enough quality going forward and a clinical counter-attack killed off the tie on 63 minutes.

De Bruyne freed Phil Foden down the left and his inch-perfect cross was blasted high past Keylor Navas by Mahrez.

In a repeat of the first leg, PSG’s discipline went with their hopes of reaching the final.

Di Maria needlessly stamped on Fernandinho to be shown a straight red card before Marco Verratti was lucky to escape seeing a second yellow.

“They lost their nerve and started to kick us,” said Mahrez, rubbing salt in PSG wounds. “After the red card it was good for us.”

AFP

Man City Overcome PSG To Reach First Champions League Final

Manchester City's Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez (L) celebrates scoring the opening goal with Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne during the UEFA Champions League second leg semi-final football match between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 4, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP
Manchester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez (L) celebrates scoring the opening goal with Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne during the UEFA Champions League second leg semi-final football match between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 4, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Manchester City reached the Champions League final for the first time in the club’s history as Riyad Mahrez’s double saw off Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 on Tuesday to seal a 4-1 aggregate win.

Mahrez’s goal also decided the first leg and the Algerian, who grew up in the Parisian suburbs, haunted his home town team again with two clinical finishes early in each half.

The final in Istanbul on May 29 against Real Madrid or Chelsea is the culmination of City’s rise since an Abu Dhabi takeover in 2008 transformed the club’s fortunes.

Meanwhile, four years on from making Neymar and Kylian Mbappe the world’s two most expensive players, PSG’s wait for a first Champions League title goes on.

Mbappe could only watch on from the stands due to a calf injury as, just like in last week’s first leg, his side imploded after an excellent first-half performance.

The visitors were left to rue huge missed chances by Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria in between Mahrez’s strikes before Di Maria lashed out at Fernandinho to leave PSG down to 10 men for the final 20 minutes.

City will set the seal on a fifth Premier League title in the past 10 years in the coming days as they remain on course for a treble, having already lifted the League Cup.

But it has taken until their 10th consecutive season in the Champions League for Sheikh Mansour’s investment to be rewarded by playing in the biggest game in club football.

City boss Pep Guardiola has won the Champions League twice before as a coach during his time at Barcelona.

However, the Catalan has also endured a decade of anguish in Europe’s premier club competition since.

Four times Guardiola has fallen at the semi-final stage with Barca and Bayern Munich since last lifting the trophy in 2011 on top of three quarter-final exits with City in the past three seasons.

In many of those ties, the fine details and controversial decisions went against Guardiola’s men despite dominating the match.

This time it was a role reversal as City had to withstand a barrage from PSG before the break.

The French champions thought they had an early penalty to get back in the tie when Oleksandr Zinchenko was penalised for handball.

However, Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers rightly reversed his initial decision on seeing a replay of the ball bouncing off the Ukrainian’s shoulder.

Zinchenko was heavily involved again when the opening goal arrived at the other end.

He raced onto City goalkeeper Ederson’s thunderous long pass into the PSG area. Zinchenko’s cut-back found Kevin De Bruyne and after the Belgian’s shot was blocked, Mahrez pounced to slot home on his weaker right foot.

The tie was still far from over as PSG penned City back and should have been at least level on the night before half-time.

Marquinhos has made a habit of scoring big Champions League goals and the Brazilian was inches away from another when his looping header came back off the crossbar.

Ederson then nearly undid his good work as Di Maria intercepted his hurried throw to Bernardo Silva and flashed a shot inches wide with the Brazilian ‘keeper stranded outside his goal.

Neymar nullified

Mauricio Pochettino will wonder what could have been had Mbappe been fit with his replacement Icardi ineffective.

Neymar only ever showed flashes of his brilliance with City’s impressive defence led by Ruben Dias able to focus on stopping the Brazilian without Mbappe to worry about.

City have now kept 31 clean sheets this season in a marked contrast to the defensive weakness that has previously cost them in this competition.

Guardiola’s men have always shown enough quality going forward and a clinical counter-attack killed off the tie on 63 minutes.

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar leaves the pitch at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League second leg semi-final football match between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 4, 2021. Manchester City won the match 2-0. Paul ELLIS / AFP
Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar leaves the pitch at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League second leg semi-final football match between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 4, 2021. Manchester City won the match 2-0. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

De Bruyne freed Phil Foden down the left and his inch-perfect cross was blasted high past Keylor Navas by Mahrez.

In a repeat of the first leg, PSG’s discipline went with their hopes of reaching the final.

Di Maria needlessly stamped on Fernandinho to be shown a straight red card before Marco Verratti was lucky to escape seeing a second yellow.

Foden hit the post as City threatened to run riot in the closing stages.

But they had already done enough to make history.

AFP

Man City On Brink Of Premier League Title

Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder Ferran Torres (R) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City at Selhurst Park in south London on May 1, 2021. PHOTO: Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP

 

Manchester City are on the brink of clinching the Premier League title after a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace, while Brighton virtually assured their survival with victory over Leeds on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side moved 13 points clear at the top thanks to second-half goals from Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres at Selhurst Park.

City will be crowned English champions for the third time in four seasons if second-placed Manchester United lose at home to Liverpool on Sunday.

If United avoid defeat, City can seal the title with a victory against Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium next Saturday.

READ ALSO: Maradona Was Left To ‘Fate’ Ahead Of Death – Expert Panel

It is a matter of when, not if, City regain the title they surrendered to Liverpool last season.

They shook off a tepid first half in south London and put Palace to the sword with two goals in the space of 84 seconds.

Aguero, making only his sixth league start in an injury-plagued season, broke the deadlock in the 57th minute when he ran onto Benjamin Mendy’s long pass and slammed a half-volley into the roof of the net from 10 yards.

It was only Aguero’s fourth goal of what will be his final season with City after the club’s record scorer announced he will leave in the close-season.

City hope Torres will be part of a new generation of stars capable of building on the foundations laid by the likes of Aguero.

The Spanish forward gave a glimpse of his potential when he fired home from the edge of the area after a flowing City attack in the 59th minute.

That was enough to seal an 11th successive away victory in the Premier League, equalling the English top-flight record.

City were languishing in 14th place in late November but a blistering run since then has carried them to the brink of a third title in four seasons.

 

– ‘Put it in the fridge’ –

The treble chasers could also add the Champions League to that haul.

On Tuesday, City will attempt to reach their first ever Champions League final when they defend a 2-1 lead in the semi-final second leg against Paris Saint-Germain.

“We can start to think about it and put it in the fridge. The Premier League is already there, it is in our hands. We need one more victory,” Guardiola said.

“I’m absolutely delighted with that after the Champions League. We could not play with much rhythm. We struggled a little bit but in the second half we deserved it.

“I will check on the Liverpool game. It’s in our hands and now we will give everything to beat PSG.”

At the Amex Stadium, Brighton broke a three-game goal drought when they took the lead through Pascal Gross’s 14th-minute penalty.

Ezgjan Alioski was penalised for bringing down Danny Welbeck and Gross found the bottom corner with the resulting spot-kick.

Graham Potter’s side struck again through Danny Welbeck’s excellent solo effort in the 79th minute to seal a 2-0 win.

Brighton are now 10 points clear of the relegation zone with four games left.

Later on Saturday, Chelsea can cement their hold on fourth place and push Fulham closer to relegation with a win in the west London derby at Stamford Bridge.

Everton, pushing for European qualification, host Aston Villa in Saturday’s final match.

AFP

‘Trust Yourselves,’ Guardiola Tells Man City To See Off PSG

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe reacts as Manchester City players celebrate after winning the UEFA Champions League first leg semi-final football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester City at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on April 28, 2021. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

 

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola told his players to believe in their ability to complete the job against Paris Saint-Germain next week and reach the club’s first ever Champions League final.

Guardiola’s men came from behind to beat the French champions 2-1 in the Parc des Princes on Wednesday to take a vital lead back to the Etihad Stadium on May 4.

City reached the last four for the first time in five years under Guardiola by also bouncing back from conceding an early goal in their quarter-final, second leg against Borussia Dortmund to win 2-1 in Germany.

The Premier League champions-elect needed a similar response after Marquinhos’s early header gave PSG a half-time lead.

City were much improved after half-time, but had luck on their side to level when Kevin De Bruyne’s cross found the bottom corner before Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick completed the comeback.

“In Dortmund we conceded a goal and came back and today the same,” said Guardiola. “Only what I want is to be ourselves in the second game.

“We are good playing in a certain way, we cannot do it another way. Hopefully we can find the right words, the right decisions to do it.”

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City showed a new found maturity on the European stage to weather an early storm from Mauricio Pochettino’s men and go in only 1-0 down at the break.

But Guardiola put a slow start down to nerves in a first Champions League semi-final for many of his players.

“At 1-0 they were good, we could not press well. We didn’t have the good possession in the right positions but that sometimes is normal.

“This club does not have much experience in this stage of the competition, but I think it will help us to realise that we are ourselves or anything can happen. I think the second half we were, we were incredibly aggressive and played really good.”

All eyes were on De Bruyne when City were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position with 19 minutes to go, but the Belgian’s decision to step aside for Mahrez to fire in the winner proved an inspired choice.

“I said ‘if you believe in yourself, take it’,” said De Bruyne. “I have full confidence in my team and you know he scored the goal, so who am I to say something about that?”

City’s dominance of possession after half-time and a fine defensive performance from Ruben Dias and John Stones managed to keep PSG’s star duo of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe quiet.

But De Bruyne warned the job is only half done.

“We know there are going to be moments in the game where we suffer,” added the City captain.

“The quality in this stage (of the competition), we know how good they are so you have to set your mind on that. Run hard, work hard for the team and we know we also have quality to play against them.”

AFP

Champions League: Man City Fight Back To Beat PSG In Semi-Final First Leg

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe reacts as Manchester City players celebrate after winning the UEFA Champions League first leg semi-final football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester City at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on April 28, 2021. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

Manchester City took a huge step towards the Champions League final by coming from behind to win 2-1 at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday in their last-four first leg.

Marquinhos’ header gave PSG a deserved half-time lead, but Pep Guardiola’s City dominated the second half and goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez turned the game on its head.

Home midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye was sent off late on, but PSG avoided conceding a third to keep their hopes alive ahead of next Tuesday’s second leg in Manchester.

Three Talking Points From PSG 1 Man City 2

Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick 19 minutes from time took Manchester City within touching distance of a first-ever Champions League final as they came from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday.

PSG captain Marquinhos headed the hosts into an early lead, but City composed themselves after half-time to take a firm grip of the tie.

Kevin De Bruyne’s cross found its way into the far corner for a vital away goal to level before Mahrez’s strike found a hole in the Parisian wall.

Look at three talking points from a thrilling first leg:

City learn their lesson

Pep Guardiola’s five seasons in Manchester have been filled with domestic trophies and Champions League collapses.

This is the first time the English champions-elect have even reached the last four under the Catalan coach, but they showed a new maturity on the European stage to ride out the early Paris storm.

City’s previous Champions League exits have been characterised by conceding multiple goals in quick succession.

Despite the early blow of Marquinhos’s towering header, the visitors kept their composure to get to half-time just a goal behind.

Guardiola’s men found their groove after the break, but this time they were the beneficiaries of two defensive mistakes to take control of the tie.

Firstly, Keylor Navas misjudged the flight of De Bruyne’s cross that nestled in the far corner before Mahrez’s free-kick flew through a gaping hole in the PSG wall.

Mbappe and Neymar nullified

PSG’s star duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were too hot for reigning champions Bayern Munich to handle in a thrilling quarter-final, but City showed why they have the best defensive record in the Champions League this season.

Neymar threatened to spark into life early on as his quick footwork teased the City defence, but the centre-back partnership of Ruben Dias and John Stones that has carried Guardiola’s men to the brink of the Premier League title stood firm.

Only once did Mbappe’s pace leave Stones for dead, but Marco Verratti just failed to connect with the French international’s teasing low cross with the chance to double PSG’s lead early in the second half.

There remains plenty for City to do in next week’s second leg, but PSG will need much more magic from the world’s two most expensive ever players if they are to reach a second consecutive Champions League final.

Mahrez makes his mark on homecoming

The Algerian grew up on the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles, but has taken a long and winding road back to scoring the winner of a Champions League semi-final in his home city.

Mahrez was not a star of one of France’s vaunted youth academies and made his way to English football with Leicester from Ligue 2 side Le Havre.

A star of the Foxes’ stunning Premier League triumph in 2015/16, he eventually got his big move in 2018.

Despite costing a then club-record £60 million ($83 million), Mahrez was only a bit-part player in City’s domestic treble triumph in his debut season.

But he has come of age as a City player this season, becoming one of the first names on Guardiola’s teamsheet, while the likes of Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have had to settle for a place on the bench.

All eyes were on De Bruyne when City were awarded a free-kick in a perfect position.

But the Belgian’s confidence in stepping aside for Mahrez proved the right call as his left-footed effort gave City a priceless lead in the battle between two clubs with seemingly bottomless pits of cash to throw at winning this competition for the first time.

Man City Beat Spurs To Win Fourth Consecutive League Cup


Manchester City players celebrate with the trophy after winning the English League Cup final football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium, northwest London on April 25, 2021. CARL RECINE / POOL / AFP

 

Manchester City claimed a fourth consecutive League Cup on Sunday with a dominant display to beat Tottenham 1-0 in front of 8,000 fans at Wembley.

Aymeric Laporte’s header eight minutes from time finally ended Tottenham’s resistance as their 13-year wait to win a trophy goes on.

For the first time in 13 months, a football match in England had designated fans from both teams inside the stadium in one of a series of test events at Wembley as coronavirus restrictions are eased.


Fans cheer during the English League Cup final football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium, northwest London on April 25, 2021. CARL RECINE / POOL / AFP

 

Defeat by Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals last weekend means City cannot claim an unprecedented quadruple of trophies this season.

However, they remain on course for a treble with the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain to come on Wednesday before possibly sealing the Premier League title next weekend.

 

Pep Guardiola’s men played like champions as after a slight dip in form in recent weeks, they pinned Tottenham back from the first whistle and should have won by a far more comfortable scoreline.

Spurs sacked manager Jose Mourinho on Monday amid a chaotic week as both City and Tottenham also quickly withdrew from plans to join a European Super League.

But City looked in a different league from the off as they peppered Hugo Lloris’s goal without finding the breakthrough.

Raheem Sterling saw a goalbound effort blocked by Toby Alderweireld before Lloris made a stunning save from point-blank range to turn behind Phil Foden’s shot.

A Sterling dink over Lloris then spun just wide before Riyad Mahrez twice flashed powerful efforts inches wide.

Spurs somehow held out without conceding until half-time as Lloris was called into action again to deny Joao Cancelo.


Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (R) vies with Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne during the English League Cup final football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium, northwest London on April 25, 2021. CARL RECINE / POOL / AFP

 

Despite Harry Kane’s recovery from an ankle injury to start, Tottenham had offered nothing as an attacking threat until Giovani Lo Celso forced Zack Steffen into a fine save a minute into the second half.

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However, the majority of the chances continued to come and go at the other end.

Ilkay Gundogan sliced wide at the near post before Lloris was forced into another flying save to deny Mahrez.

When the breakthrough finally arrived, it came from an unlikely source as Laporte rose highest to head home Kevin De Bruyne’s free-kick at the back post.

Under interim boss Ryan Mason for just the second time, Spurs’ energies were spent after conceding as they failed to muster any response to try and take the game to extra time.

 


Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola (L) and Tottenham Hotspur’s interim head coach Ryan Mason watches his players from the touchline during the English League Cup final football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium, northwest London on April 25, 2021. CARL RECINE / POOL / AFP

 

Sterling and Foden were guilty of being wasteful once more in front of goal in the closing minutes, while Mahrez had a second goal ruled out for offside.

But one goal was enough to secure a seventh major trophy in Guardiola’s five seasons in charge in Manchester.

AFP

Chelsea, Manchester City To Pull Out Of Super League: Reports

Football supporters demonstrate against the proposed European Super League outside of Stamford Bridge football stadium in London on April 20, 2021, ahead of the English Premier League match between Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Football supporters demonstrate against the proposed European Super League outside of Stamford Bridge football stadium in London on April 20, 2021, ahead of the English Premier League match between Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Chelsea and Manchester City are set to withdraw from proposals for a European Super League on Tuesday after a furious backlash against the controversial plan.

Chelsea and City were two of 12 leading European clubs to sign up to the breakaway league on Sunday.

But the reaction to the incendiary scheme has been scathing, with politicians and football authorities threatening to take legal action against the so-called “dirty dozen” and potentially ban them from domestic leagues.

READ ALSO: An Explainer On Europe’s Breakaway Tournament

Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid were the other 10 sides to agree to the plan.

However, reports have emerged that Atletico and Barcelona are both also considering withdrawing.

Chelsea and City’s decision to backtrack could spark the collapse of a project that has sparked outrage across the continent.

The Athletic and the BBC reported that Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has resigned.

Earlier on Tuesday, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told the clubs it was not too late to admit they had made a mistake.

“Gentlemen, you made a huge mistake,” said Ceferin.

“Some will say it is greed, some complete ignorance of England’s football culture. There’s still time to change your mind. Everyone makes mistakes.”

Over 1,000 fans gathered outside Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium to protest against the plan ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League match against Brighton.

Less than two hours after the protesters made their feelings known, it was first reported that Chelsea are preparing documentation to become the first club to withdraw from the competition.

The BBC reported that Blues owner Roman Abramovich is understood to have driven the decision.

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, now the club’s technical advisor, had come out of the stadium in a bid to persuade fans to clear the roads as the home side’s team bus was held up by the protest, causing kick-off to be delayed by 15 minutes.

Cech was heard shouting “give us time” before being drowned out by angry protesters.

The 20-team competition was designed by the European giants to guarantee revenue from regular matches against one another without the risk of failing to qualify for 15 founder members.

The 12 teams had signed up to share an initial pot of over 3.5 billion euros.

However, the plan was fiercely criticised by even their own players and managers for acting as a closed shop.

“It’s not a sport when the relation between effort and reward doesn’t exist,” said Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

“It’s not a sport when success is already guaranteed, it’s not a sport if it doesn’t matter if you lose.”

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford shared an image on Twitter of one of the banners which covers the stands at Old Trafford.

The banner carries a quote from the club’s legendary former manager Sir Matt Busby, which reads: “Football is nothing without fans”.

AFP