Jesus Navas

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Everton 2-1 Manchester City: Lukaku scores, injured in League Cup semi

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Ramiro Funes Mori and Romelu Lukaku scored to give Everton a 2-1 lead after one leg of their League Cup semifinal against Manchester City at Goodison Park.

Jesus Navas scored the potentially-critical away goal for City, with the second leg coming up on Jan. 27.

Sadly for Everton, fans may be just as distraught about Lukaku limping off the field after scoring as they are excited about being 90 minutes from the League Cup final.

[ LEAGUE CUP: Liverpool takes 1-0 away lead on Stoke in other semi ]

Funes Mori was in the right spot to tap Everton into a 1-0 lead just before halftime, as Ross Barkley‘s shot from outside the 18 was saved onto the doorstep by Wily Caballero.

Everton had a pair of first-half goals disallowed, but Funes Mori’s tap-in made sure the home side had a lead going into halftime.

City came close to finding an equalizer midway through the second half, as Sergio Aguero took a touch but leaned back while blasting a 10-yard shot over the bar.

But a picture-perfect counter attack allowed Man City to capture a vital away goal. Fernandinho made a long, gorgeous pass that Sergio Aguero squared for Navas to work past Joel Robles. 1-1 in the 71st minute.

[ MORE: Pellegrini knows Premier League title may not save his job ]

But Lukaku answered back moments later, heading a fantastic left-footed cross from Seamus Coleman past Caballero to make it 2-1.

Lukaku was injured on the play, and had to leave the game with a significant limp.

Manchester City officially signs Kevin de Bruyne

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The saga is finally over, as Manchester City’s summer-long courting of Wolfsburg attacker Kevin de Bruyne has come to a happy conclusion for the Premier League leaders.

The Sky Blues announced De Bruyne’s arrival on a six-year contract, with the 24-year-old saying, “I want to reach the highest level possible as a player and I think the most important thing is that at the end of the season we can be happy and maybe have some titles. I think this is the most important for the Club, the players and for the fans of course.”

Manchester City did not indicate a transfer fee, but reports suggest it’s in the range of $78-86 million, which would be a club record signing, beating the Raheem Sterling move earlier this summer. A deal in that range would also indicate both a record for a Bundesliga sale and a record for a Belgian player.

De Bruyne left Chelsea in January of 2014 after failing to log significant game time, and he made an immediate and stunning impact at Wolfsburg, logging 10 goals and a whopping 21 assists in Bundesliga play. He and striker Bas Dost developed a brilliant partnership, and the two led the club to a second-place finish last season in the German top flight, earning Champions League play.

His amazing form caught the eye of multiple top clubs across Europe, and through a long, drawn-out summer where Wolfsburg tried every trick in the bag to keep him, ultimately the baby-faced Belgian decided to move to the Etihad.

“It takes a special footballer to improve our squad and I have no doubt that Kevin is certainly one of those,” Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini told the official team website. “he has all of the mental, physical, tactical and technical attributes required to fit straight in. We like to play attractive, attacking football and bringing in a player like De Bruyne will only aid us as we fight on four fronts.”

City plays a style somewhat similar to Wolfsburg, so in that sense De Bruyne is a great fit. However, the squad is bursting at the seams with quality attacking talent after a busy transfer window, and De Bruyne will have to compete with the likes of David Silva, Jesus Navas, Samir Nasri, Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Patrick Roberts for game time. De Bruyne saw much of his success at Wolfsburg exploiting space in the center of the attack, but could be forced out wide by the current setup at City, which is where he seemed to struggle at Chelsea.

Watch Live: Manchester City vs. Watford (Lineups and Live Stream)

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Manchester City looks to keep up its powerful, unblemished run to start the season with a visit from Watford on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

The Citizens have scored goals a-plenty and have yet to concede through three matches, and are on the verge of landing Kevin De Bruyne from Wolfsburg. In the meantime, they’ll sit David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Jesus Navas under Sergio Aguero.

As for the Hornets, they’ve drawn all three of their Premier League encounters, and captain Troy Deeney may take a fourth if you offer it to him right now.

WATCH LIVE AT 10 A.M. ET ON NBCSN AND ONLINE VIA LIVE EXTRA

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Hart, Sagna, Mangala, Kompany (C), Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Silva, Sterling, Navas, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Maffeo, Roberts, Nasri, Iheanacho, Delph, Demichelis.

Watford: Gomes; Nyom, Prödl, Cathcart, Holebas; Behrami, Capoue; Jurado, Ighalo, Abdi; Deeney (c) Subs: Arlauskis, Hoban, Watson, Layun, Anya, Diamanti, Vydra.

Wolfsburg say Kevin de Bruyne not heading to Manchester City “at this point”

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The Kevin de Bruyne saga continues.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news

With reports suggesting that Manchester City were set to seal a $83 million move for De Bruyne in the coming hours, Wolfsburg officials have extinguished those hopes as the Belgian winger looks set to remain with the Bundesliga club for a little while longer.

A move from City for De Bruyne would see them break the transfer record to sign a player from Germany’s top flight, but Wolfsburg’s sporting director Klaus Allofs had the following to say on Thursday about any potential move.

“When I hear the news about Kevin de Bruyne leaving for huge amounts of money for Manchester City, I can already tell you that is not true,” Allofs said. “Over the last year there has been lots of talks to try and get him to stay at the club and there have been negotiations with Manchester City about possibly transferring but again I can inform you that it is not true. At this point in time he is not going to Manchester City.”

Have City got cold feet? Are Wolfsburg proving too difficult to deal with in the transfer market? And do the Citizens really need De Bruyne?

[ MORE: Transfer needs for each PL club on Deadline Day ]

All of those questions may point towards why this deal is dragging out, as the man who had the most assists (20) in the top five leagues in Europe last season is obviously a huge talent but City still have Raheem Sterling, Jesus Navas and Samir Nasri around in the wide positions.

Is De Bruyne really worth splashing over $80 million on after he struggled to adapt to the Premier League and was sold by Chelsea in January 2014 after being surplus to requirements? Despite his sublime passing, crossing and finishing ability, there are question marks surrounding his strength and work rate, so maybe he isn’t quite ready for the PL yet.

Regardless, with five days left in the summer transfer window, there is still time for City to salvage this deal. If they want to. And Wolfsburg saying “at this point” certainly leaves the door wide-open for De Bruyne to leave.

Everton 0-2 Manchester City: Howard’s heroics not enough for the Toffees

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  • Tim Howard made seven saves on the day
  • Raheem Sterling contributed his first goal for Man City, an assist to Aleksandar Kolarov
  • Man City reclaimed the Premier League’s top spot and maintained a 100 percent win record
  • Everton suffered defeat for the first time in 2015-16 and remain 4th

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was called into action just 79 seconds into the game, when Sergio Aguero latched onto a badly deflected effort from David Silva. Aguero unleashed a blistering shot from a tight angle but Howard made the kick save and the ball went out for a Man City corner kick.

Howard thwarted Aguero once more in the 10th minute, when the Argentine striker got on the end of a cross from Jesus Navas, driving the ball low and into the center of the goal.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Everton thought they had taken the lead in the 24th minute, when Romelu Lukaku received the ball inside the penalty area from Ross Barkley, danced around Hart and slotted the ball inside Hart’s right-hand post. The celebrations at Goodison Park were short-lived, though, as the assistant referee flagged Lukaku for offisde.

Lukaku went six inches from giving the Toffees the lead in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time. After a foul committed by Fernandino barely a yard outside Man City’s penalty area, Lukaku took the ensuing free kick and whipped a frightening left-footed shot over the wall and grazed the top of the crossbar with Hart rooted to the ground.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

85 seconds into the second half, Silva got onto the end of a through ball from Raheem Sterling and smashed a left-footed shot, which would have had Howard beat all the way, but found only the American ‘keeper’s right-hand post.

For the difficult saves made by Howard early on, the one that snuck in — struck by Aleksandar Kolarov from an incredibly tight angle — and gave City their lead in the 60th minute is the only one he’ll remember Sunday night. Sterling played the Serbian left back into the box and Kolarov whipped a left-footed shot past Howard inside the near post.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score

Samir Nasri scored City’s long-awaited second goal in the 89th minute, when Yaya Toure chipped a through ball into the box for Samir Nasri, whose brilliant first touch was just strong enough to lift the ball over Howard and just delicate enough to bring it back down under the crossbar.