Soccer-City made to wait for title after losing at home to Chelsea

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Chelsea - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - May 8, 2021 Manchester City's Raheem Sterling in action with Chelsea's N'Golo Kante and Cesar Azpilicueta Pool via REUTERS/Shaun Botterill

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) -Manchester City will have to wait a little longer to be crowned Premier League champions after they were beaten 2-1 at home by Chelsea on Saturday.

City, who made nine changes for the game, could still secure the title this weekend if second-placed Manchester United lose at Aston Villa on Sunday.

With three games left to play, Pep Guardiola' side are 13 points ahead of United, who have five games remaining.

United have three games coming up in five days, and even if they win all three City would win the title by beating Newcastle on Friday.

"We have another three chances to be champions, we have to learn from this and carry on," said Guardiola.

"We play Chelsea again in 21 days and this game will be forgotten."

Saturday's game also offered something of a preview of the Champions League final between the two sides, although both Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel left out key players.

Different players will start the May 29th final but Chelsea will take confidence from second win over City, following last month's FA Cup semi-final victory and the three points boosts their hopes of a top four finish.

Raheem Sterling put City ahead in the 44th minute, sneaking in front of Sergio Aguero to connect with a low ball from Gabriel Jesus, who had bustled past Andreas Christensen.

Within two minutes they had a chance to double that lead from the penalty spot, but Aguero's soft chip down the middle ended in embarrassment as it was easily saved by Edouard Mendy.

Chelsea drew level through a low drive from Hakim Ziyech in the 63rd minute, and then had efforts from Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi ruled out for offside.

City felt they should have had another penalty when Sterling went down in the box with Kurt Zouma behind him.

But Tuchel's team went on to grab a late winner with Marcos Alonso's scuffed shot floating past Ederson.

Guardiola felt they should have been awarded a second spot kick when Sterling went down but refused to criticise Aguero for his poor penalty effort.

"It’s his decision. The taker makes his decision. He decided to take it his way, I've nothing to add," said the Spaniard.

The win was also a boost to Chelsea's hopes of a top four finish and qualification for next year's Champions League, regardless of how they fare in the final.

Chelsea have 64 points, six more than fifth-placed West Ham who host Everton on Sunday.

"If you want to steal all three points at the Etihad you need a bit of luck, moments and decisions from the referee. But we had many half chances in the second half and so a big congratulations to the team for their performance," said Tuchel.

(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Pritha Sarkar)

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