Football

English Premier League | Centre-backs do it for Manchester City

Rising high: Ruben Dias nods home City’s opener.  

Manchester City won its 20th straight game in all competitions and opened up a 13-point lead in the Premier League by beating West Ham 2-1 thanks to goals from centre backs Ruben Dias and John Stones on Saturday.

Playing less than 72 hours after a Champions League match in Budapest, City produced one of its sloppiest displays in recent months but emerged with its winning run intact as Stones swept in the decisive goal in the 68th minute from Riyad Mahrez’s pass.

Dias, Stones’ partner in central defence, put City in front off a header from a deep cross by Kevin De Bruyne in the 30th only for Pep Guardiola’s team to concede its first home goal in 2-1/2 months when Michail Antonio equalised just before halftime.

It was City’s 14th win in a row in the league — only the sixth time that has been achieved in English top-flight history. Three of those have been attained by City under Guardiola since his arrival in 2016.

Manchester United and Leicester are tied for points as City’s nearest rivals, and both play on Sunday.

Guardiola rotated his team, as he promised he would, and included record scorer Sergio Aguero in the starting lineup for the first time in the league since October 24 — coincidentally against West Ham, too.

The results: Premier League: Manchester City 2 (Dias 30, Stones 68) bt West Ham 1 (Antonio 43).

LaLiga: Eibar 1 (Diop 83) drew with Huesca 1 (Ramirez 81).

Serie A: Spezia 2 (Gyasi 52, 72) drew with Parma 2 (Karamoh 17, Hernani 25).

Bundesliga: Bayern Munich 5 (Choupo-Moting 18, Lewandowski 33, 65, Gnabry 82, Gnabry 86) bt Cologne 1 (Skhiri 49); Borussia Dortmund 3 (Dahoud 48, Sancho 58-pen, Reinier 81) bt Arminia Bielefeld 0; Wolfsburg 2 (Klunter 37-og, Lacroix 89) bt Hertha Berlin 0; Stuttgart 5 (Endo 10, Endo 26, Kalajdzic 34, Klement 88, Didavi 90+2) bt Schalke 04 1 (Kolasinac 40).

Friday: LaLiga: Levante 1 (Roger 33-pen) drew with Athletic Bilbao 1 (Raul Garcia 56-pen).

Bundesliga: Werder Bremen 2 (Gebre Selassie 47, Sargent 62) bt Eintracht Frankfurt 1 (Andre Silva 9).

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 5:08:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/centre-backs-do-it-for-man-city/article33950793.ece

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