Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City closed to within five points of Premier League leaders Liverpool as goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres saw off Newcastle 2-0 at a rain and windswept Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
City’s lack of goals has unusually been their undoing so far this season but despite again not hitting the free-flowing heights of previous years under Pep Guardiola, they are edging back into title contention thanks to a six-game unbeaten run to move up to fifth.
Guardiola’s options had been limited prior to kick-off by Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus testing positive for coronavirus along with two members of the City staff.
However, they still had far too much for a Newcastle side lacking in intent or any threat, with top scorer Callum Wilson left on the bench, as the hosts registered an eighth clean sheet in their last 10 games.
City threw away two points in their last home game in a 1-1 draw with West Brom after Gundogan opened the scoring.
But there was no repeat this time after the German midfielder was picked out by Raheem Sterling for a tap-in.
Even Kevin De Bruyne has suffered from a lack of confidence in front of goal in recent months as City’s routine thrashings of sides in the lower reaches of the table have dried up.
The Belgian is yet to score from open play this season and paid for his hesitation as he looked for a teammate to square the ball to when clean through on Karl Darlow as the Newcastle ‘keeper kept his side in the game before half-time.
City’s pressure finally told for the all-important second goal 10 minutes into the second half as Joao Cancelo’s low cross was turned into the path of Torres by Federico Fernandez and the Spaniard applied the simple finish.
That made it just the third time in 12 league games that City had scored more than once and there should have been far more in the final half-hour as Storm Bella swept through the empty Etihad.
Sterling somehow failed to turn home another inviting Cancelo cross before Bernardo Silva struck the outside of the post.
With City in action again in just 48 hours away to second-placed Everton, Guardiola surprisingly did not take the chance to rest the likes of De Bruyne and Sterling in the closing stages.
Sergio Aguero was given a run-out as the Argentine aims to get up to match fitness and he should have added a third when he fired too close to Darlow from another fine Cancelo cross.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Abramovich says owning Chelsea ‘honour of lifetime’ as sale set for completion
- Western United upset Melbourne City to win A-League final
- Liverpool and Real Madrid ready for mouth-watering Champions League final
- Chelsea sale to Boehly consortium to be completed on Monday
- Liverpool and Real Madrid ready for Champions League final rematch
- Where to find Liverpool vs. Real Madrid on US TV
- Hrustic, Rogic spearhead Australia squad for crunch World Cup playoff
- Deal Alert: Best streaming deals this Memorial Day Weekend
- Africa beckons for Royal after dramatic draw with Orlando Pirates
- Regret? Skupski prioritises French Open over Champions League ticket