Manchester City, with boost from Gabriel Jesus, retakes EPL lead
|Toronto Star 15 Dec 2018 at 18:23|
Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City scores his team’s second goal past Jordan Pickford of Everton during an English Premier League at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England on Saturday. Manchester City won 3-1. (Clive Brunskill / GETTY IMAGES)
Gabriel Jesus chose the perfect occasion to score in the league for the first time since August when he grabbed a double while Raheem Sterling, allegedly racially abused in the loss at Chelsea, ended a difficult week on a happy note when he wrapped up the victory with the third goal.
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The win took City back to the top of the standings, two points ahead of second-place Liverpool, which plays against rival Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.
“The players responded in a marvellous way,” Guardiola said after chalking up his 100th victory for the club in all competitions. “Everton are a top side. Today was tricky, a dangerous, dangerous game.”
Manchester City took the lead against Everton when Jesus pounced on a through pass from Leroy Sane to slide the ball under England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford midway through the first half.
The Brazil forward made it 2-0 with a powerful close-range header from another assist from Sane in the 50th minute, but Dominic Calvert-Lewin gave Everton hope of mounting a comeback when he nodded in a cross from Lucas Digne 15 minutes later.
Substitute Sterling quickly restored City’s two-goal advantage with his first touch of the ball, heading in a centre from Brazil midfielder Fernandinho in the 69th to earn his side a 10th straight home win in the league.
Jesus, who signed for City in 2017, has recently been joined in Manchester by his mother. “My confidence is back because my family is here with me,” he said.
“They help me a lot. It is easy for me because they are everything.”
Tottenham 1, Burnley 0: Tottenham, five points off the pace in third position, needed an injury-time goal from substitute Christian Eriksen.
Burnley proved almost as difficult an opponent for Spurs as Barcelona did in the Champions League in mid-week before Eriksen’s last-gasp goal clinched victory for the London club.
Spurs looked like they were enduring a disappointing comedown from their impressive 1-1 draw at Barca, but Eriksen won the game in the first minute of time added on when he coolly clipped the ball home after being teed up by England captain Harry Kane.
Crystal Palace 1, Leicester 0: Palace showed it can cope without Wilfried Zaha, the club’s most influential player, when the London team edged Leicester.
The Ivory Coast forward was sidelined through suspension but captain Luka Milivojevic produced an outstanding first-half finish to lift his side to 15th place.
Palace had not won a fixture without Zaha since September 2016, a run stretching back 13 games.
Wolverhampton 2, Bournemouth 0: An early goal from Raul Jimenez and a late strike by substitute Ivan Cavaleiro guided Wolves past Bournemouth.
Following wins against Chelsea and Newcastle in the past 10 days, Wolverhampton has recorded three consecutive victories in the top division for the first time since March 1980.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s promoted side is up to seventh in the standings, while Bournemouth remained in mid-table after slumping to a sixth loss in seven league games.
Newcastle 1, Huddersfield 0: Newcastle ended a sequence of four matches without a win after Salomon Rondon scored the only goal at fellow struggler Huddersfield on Saturday. Huddersfield suffered its fourth straight league defeat and remained third from the bottom in the standings.
Watford 3, Cardiff 2: Watford withstood a late rally to end a six-match winless run in the Premier League. Cardiff has just one point from its last 10 away games.