Marcos Alonso’s stoppage-time goal five minutes after Raheem Sterling was denied a penalty lifted Chelsea into third place and left Manchester City to wait at least a day to seal the Premier League title in a 2-1 Blues win on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.
Raheem Sterling staked City to a 1-0 lead late in the first half but Sergio Aguero’s panenka penalty was saved a minute later and a Rodri giveaway spurred a second-half goal for Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech.
Sterling could’ve won his second penalty of the night but VAR did not see an error in Anthony Taylor’s emphatic “play on” after Kurt Zouma seemed to have fouled the Englishman, and Alonso snuck the ball home minutes later to seal three points.
City’s lead over Manchester United stays at 13 points, with the second-place Red Devils having two matches-in-hand. If United fails to beat Aston Villa on Sunday, City will win the Premier League.
Chelsea climbs above third-place Leicester City and is three points behind Man United. Fifth-place West Ham is five points behind Leicester and six back of the Blues.
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Three things we learned from Manchester City – Chelsea
1. Silly mistakes postpone City celebrations: This match was about exactly four moments, twoo that turned it from a City win into a likely draw, and two more that decided Chelsea would win rather than City.
The champions-elect will lament all of them ahead of the rematch later this month in the UEFA Champions League Final. First there was Sergio Aguero’s poor panenka a minute after Sterling had put City in front. Then came the Chelsea goal by Ziyech, as Rodri thought he was fouled when he gave the ball away in his own half.
And Anthony Taylor waved away a penalty shout from Sterling in the 88th minute to no avail, no lengthy review helping City’s cause despite seeming reason to put City on the spot. The league leaders were left fuming and it would’ve reached extreme temperatures when Alonso delivered the stoppage-time winner.
Agüero attempted the panenka, and he missed. pic.twitter.com/iIAhvj99Z0
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) May 8, 2021
2. Chelsea eventually solves City’s tight line: Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic were all over the pitch for Chelsea, but the assistant referee’s flag was raised when a Pulisic-led rush played Reece James into the box for a cross that Hudson-Odoi snapped home. But it stayed 1-1, and was somewhat symbolic of Chelsea’s day. Werner was consistently risking offside with his runs and had the ball in scoring position a few times only to see offside be the call, but Alonso wasn’t when Werner turned provider with mere seconds left in Manchester.
3. Still, clearly less about this result and more about the European Cup: Pep Guardiola joked before the game that his pre-match meeting with Thomas Tuchel was the two men sharing their exact tactical plans for later this month in Istanbul (or, perhaps, England), but as fun as this match was at times you could tell it was more about the managers shielding any sort of plan from the other. Kevin De Bruyne wasn’t even in the 18 for City, who was just a little better but made more mistakes and got a — if we’re honest — extremely unfortunate turn at the end of the game. No way that Zouma is absolved by VAR if Taylor sees it as a penalty on the field. That’s why it finished 2-1.
Man of the Match: Hakim Ziyech
Chelsea’s top-four hopes are high but not enough that Tuchel would keep his best player on the day on the pitch for the full 90 minutes. Ziyech was wonderful, with a goal, three shots on target and a perfect 4-for-4 on dribbles.
Manchester City – Chelsea recap
Ferran Torres had the only real effort of the first half-dozen minutes and the Man City winger blazed his shot over the goal.
Werner tested the backline quite a bit and had the ball in the goal off a Reece James cross in the 32nd minute but was well offside.
Ederson made a two-handed slap save of Hakim Ziyech before Antonio Rudiger hammered a shot over the goal.
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City took hold of the match when Aguero’s bumbled touch of a cross was smashed home by Sterling.
Sterling would provide his teammate another chance when he won a penalty, but the Argentine’s cute panenka was easily saved by Edouard Mendy. The City attacker should feel relief to remain on the pitch after a studs-up tackle did not lead to a red card.
Christian Pulisic snapped a shot over the frame at the hour mark, but it was a bit of foreshadowing as Ziyech got to an open patch of grass to smash a 63rd-minute shot past Ederson off a Rodri giveaway.
The notable later moments decided the match were Zouma’s uncalled foul on Sterling and Alonso’s winner.