Soccer-Man City fight back to beat Villa and win Premier League title


Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Aston Villa - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - May 22, 2022 Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan celebrates scoring their third goal with Gabriel Jesus REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

MANCHESTER (Reuters) - Manchester City won their fourth Premier League trophy in five years on Sunday but nearly let it slip from their hands, coming from two goals down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 with three goals inside an electrifying five minutes late in the second half.

After an afternoon of high nerves, laced with the fear of Liverpool pipping them to the title at the post, relieved and jubilant City fans poured onto the field at the final whistle.

Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan scored twice as City took the vital three points, making Liverpool's 3-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers irrelevant.

"The moment we found a goal it changed everything. We are were not playing in normal circumstances but you have to handle it," said Guardiola.

"Gundogan is the best inside runner we have. We were arriving down the sides and we needed a player with the sense of tempo in the box and he’s the best," he added.

"We are legends. When you win the Premier League four times in five seasons it’s because these guys are so, so special. We will be remembered," added the Spaniard.

The day was set up for a party and there was a relaxed mood around the ground before kick-off. But that was soon to change as Villa, managed by former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, provided a twist in the storyline.

Matty Cash put Villa in front in the 37th minute with a fine header from a Lucas Digne cross from the left flank, and the mood in the stadium instantly changed.

City were far from their fluent best, lacking finesse as they piled on the pressure in search of a leveller but rarely troubling Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen.

EDGY MOOD

The edgy mood among the home fans turned to desperation after Philippe Coutinho then doubled the lead for Villa with a goal of pure simplicity.

Ollie Watkins headed on from a long Olsen goalkick, and the former Liverpool midfielder Coutinho produced a brilliant first touch to cut inside and then drilled the ball into the bottom corner.

Liverpool were level with Wolves at the time of Coutinho's strike, but City knew that a goal for Juergen Klopp's side could now take the title away from them.

But then came the City comeback blitz that sealed the title regardless of events at Anfield.

Two substitutes combined for the first, with Gundogan heading in a Raheem Sterling cross at the back post in the 76th minute.

Halftime substitute Oleksandr Zinchenko, on the left flank, then showed composure to pull the ball back to Rodri, and the Spaniard delivered a pinpoint finish -- side-footing into the bottom corner from 20 metres.

The title-winning goal came in the 81st minute when Kevin De Bruyne whipped in a low cross to Gundogan, who tapped in from close range, sending the crowd into rapturous delight.

"The magnitude of your achievement is defined by the magnitude of your rival," reflected Guardiola.

"I’ve never seen a team like Liverpool. I know it’s tough but a huge congratulations to them. They help us to be a better team," he added.

(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis/Hugh Lawson/Ken Ferris)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In Football

Soccer-Bale finalising deal to join MLS side Los Angeles FC - report
KL, Kedah fail to get winning start in AFC Cup
Southern Tigers maul Giants to hand Mora perfect gift
Soccer-Awoniyi joins Forest in club record move from Union Berlin
Soccer-Bournemouth sign midfielder Rothwell on free transfer from Blackburn
Soccer-Netherlands boss Parsons singles out England as Euros favourites
Former soccer star Carlos Tevez debuts as coach in Rosario Central loss
Soccer-England get Euros tonic with big win over Netherlands
Soccer-Scotland close in on Women's World Cup playoff spot with 4-0 Ukraine win
Soccer-Rooney steps down as Derby County boss

Others Also Read