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EPL PHOTOS: City go top after win over Cardiff

April 04, 2019 10:03 IST

IMAGES from the English Premier League matches played on Wednesday

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with his team mates after scoring his team's first goal against Cardiff City at Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Wednesday

IMAGE: Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with his team mates after scoring his team's first goal against Cardiff City at Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Wednesday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester City took command in the Premier League title race with a 2-0 win over Cardiff City that moved Pep Guardiola's side a point clear of Liverpool with six games of the campaign remaining.

 

After a game which City could have won by a much bigger margin, the destiny of the title is in their hands with both teams having now played 32 games and City on 80 points while Juergen Klopp's team are on 79.

If City win all their six games they will retain the title and after winning their last eight league games in a row and 21 of their last 22 in all competitions, they certainly are capable of finishing the season in such style.

"We have the feeling if we drop points we will not be champions," said Guardiola.

"With the chances we created, we should have scored more, that’s the regret but the other side it was really good," added the Spaniard.

City dominated from the outset, taking the lead in the sixth minute when Kevin De Bruyne ran on to a clever pass from Aymeric Laporte and blasted past Cardiff keeper Neil Etheridge from a tight angle.

Manchester City's Leroy Sane is challenged by Cardiff City's Lee Peltier 

IMAGE: Manchester City's Leroy Sane is challenged by Cardiff City's Lee Peltier. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The Belgian midfielder conceded after the game that he had intended to cross the ball but Etheridge will be disappointed that he had left his near post open.

City strutted and moved the ball with their customary ease but it was not until a minute before the break that Leroy Sane made it 2-0 with a sweet left-foot drive after a clever chest pass from Gabriel Jesus.

Somehow though City were unable to add to their tally after the break with Etheridge making a series of fine saves as City peppered the Cardiff goal.

He saved a Laporte header from a Phil Foden cross in the 66th minute, the City teenager having started his first Premier League game.

In the following five minutes the Philippine international keeper then parried and pushed over the bar a fierce Riyad Mahrez drive; was at full stretch to keep out a Sane shot and then dealt expertly with a Foden effort -- the 18-year-old having also hit the post.

Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez is challenged by Cardiff City's Aron Gunnarsson and Josh Murphy 

IMAGE: Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez is challenged by Cardiff City's Aron Gunnarsson and Josh Murphy. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Cardiff had barely troubled the City defence but they came close to pulling a goal back on the break, in the 74th minute when Kyle Walker slipped but Oumar Niasse was unable to finish off the counter, Ederson racing out to deny him.

The result leaves 18th placed Cardiff five points away from the safety zone on 28 points. Burnley, Southampton and Brighton are all on 33 points, HuddersfieldTown and Fulham have already been relegated.

"We are trying to keep it interesting and we are far outweighing our expectations, we are still in with a shout," said Cardiff manager Neil Warnock.

"You can afford the odd draw but I think we have to win three at least, add a draw and who knows?"

Tottenham return home with vital win over Palace

 Tottenham Hotspur's Heung-Min Son celebrates with his team mates after scoring his team's first goal against Crystal Palace at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London

IMAGE: Tottenham Hotspur's Heung-Min Son celebrates with his team mates after scoring his team's first goal against Crystal Palace at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur marked their long-awaited homecoming with a vital 2-0 win over CrystalPalace in the first Premier League game at their new stadium on Wednesday to revive their faltering top-four hopes.

It was hardly a classic to mark the official opening of the spectacular 62,062-seat stadium, but second-half goals by Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen ensured the London club began a new era with a win to move back above Arsenal into third place.

"It's just amazing. What an unbelievable stadium. The noise was just so loud," South Korean Son, whose 12th league goal of the season came in front of the stadium's steepling 17,500-seat single tier South Stand, told Sky Sports.

"To score the first goal at this stadium. White Hart Lane is our history but the new stadium... I can't believe it."

Having moved out of their historic old stadium in May 2017, Tottenham have lodged at Wembley for nearly two seasons after building issues caused a six-month delay to their new arena.

After a couple of test events the official opening was marked by a pre-match ceremony involving a brass band, a school choir and fireworks illuminating the golden cockerel sitting proudly on top of the South Stand.

Tottenham's worst slump in Mauricio Pochettino's five years in charge -- one point from five games -- had seen his side's outside shot at the title replaced by the fear of being swallowed by the chasing pack in the race for a top-four spot.

After failing to get an early breakthrough the anxiety began to show, with Eriksen and Danny Rose both failing to capitalise on chances while Harry Kane had a free kick deflected wide.

 Fireworks explode off the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as part of its inaugural ceremony ahead of the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace 

IMAGE: Fireworks explode off the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as part of its inaugural ceremony ahead of the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

It was left to Son, Tottenham's often unsung hero, to break the deadlock and etch his name into the club's history books.

Eriksen did well to win back possession and play in Son on the right and the striker then cut in before firing goalwards -- his shot diverting wickedly off Palace skipper Luka Milivojevic to wrong-foot keeper Vicente Guaita.

With Tottenham's fans finally creating the atmosphere the occasion merited, Kane blazed over before his stumbling run into the area ended with Eriksen sweeping home from close range.

Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris made two superb late saves to spare the fans a nail-biting finale and send them inside to christen the stadium's array of swanky new bars with a crucial win to celebrate.

Victory lifted Spurs back into third spot having been overtaken by local rivals Arsenal at the weekend.

They have 64 points from 32 games with neighbours Arsenal, having played a game less, on 63 along with Chelsea, who beat Brighton & Hove Albion 3-0, while Manchester United are on 61 in the race for Champions League spots.

Chelsea beat Brighton 3-0 to bolster Champions League hopes

Chelsea's Olivier Giroud scores the 1st Chelsea goal against Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge

IMAGE: Chelsea's Olivier Giroud scores the 1st Chelsea goal against Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Goals from Olivier Giroud, Eden Hazard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek and an impressive first Premier League start by Callum Hudson-Odoi earned Chelsea a 3-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday, boosting their chances of a top-four finish.

The comfortable victory from the home side, which moved Chelsea fifth and level on points with Arsenal above them, also eased pressure on coach Maurizio Sarri after some fragile recent performances.

Local boy Hudson-Odoi, who last month made his first start for England but has struggled to feature for Chelsea, created the opener when he crossed for World Cup winner Giroud to score with a flick of the outside of his boot in the 38th minute.

Belgium's Hazard made it 2-0 on the hour when he collected a pass from Loftus-Cheek and curled a shot from the edge of the box past Mat Ryan. Three minutes later, Hazard repaid the favour, feeding Loftus-Cheek to fire home.

The 18-year-old Hudson-Odoi, who has been courted by Bayern Munich and the object of keen interest at home and abroad, proved lively and influential throughout the match.

"Callum now is ready to play every match and also the most difficult matches because he has improved a lot throughout the season," Sarri said.

"It's impossible to be at the top when you are 18 so he can improve, he needs to improve and then he can become one of the best players in Europe."

Sarri also singled out fellow Academy graduates Loftus-Cheek and Danish defender Andreas Christensen as players who are making their mark.

"They are at the moment very important players but the potential is there so in the future they can become top players. I think for this team the future can be good," he said.

"Sometimes it is difficult to keep young players because when they are under 18 they can sign only for two years."

Chelsea overtook Manchester United to sit fifth in the Premier League on 63 points, level with Arsenal who have a game in hand, and one point behind Tottenham Hotspur in the chase for places in next season's Champions League.

Brighton, fighting to avoid being dragged into the relegation fight, remain 15th, five points above the drop zone. 

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