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Guardiola loving life as ‘bold’ Man City advances

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There’s no much for a manager to say after his side beats another 7-0 on the day, and 10-2 on aggregate.

So don’t judge Pep Guardiola too harshly for his words following Manchester City’s Tuesday demolition of Schalke in the UEFA Champions League.

[ RECAP: Man City 7-0 (10-2 agg.) Schalke ]

“It was a clear result,” Guardiola said. “We are happy to get to the quarter-finals. We didn’t start that well, we were a bit scared to play. But after it went 1-0, we relaxed and decided to play and be aggressive.”

Sergio Aguero scored twice for Pep’s men, with Leroy Sane, Raheem SterlingPhil FodenGabriel Jesus, and Bernardo Silva also finding the back of the net.

With Danilo on his back line and both Foden and Fabian Delph coming off the bench to get some minutes, it all went according to plan for Guardiola.

“We have a lot of injured players so we want to continue this run and get those players back fit,” he said. “Everyone has to compete with each other to play. They all want to play. Everybody tried to play, be bold and keep going.”

City can hang with anyone, and shut down Schalke despite the absence of Fernandinho, Vincent Kompany, and John Stones. Oh, and Kevin De Bruyne did not play either. And Riyad Mahrez was an unused sub.

So yeah, pretty much full strength (Shoulder shrug emoji).

Controversial opener, Sterling lead Man City past Watford

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  • Scoreless at halftime
  • Sterling nabs quarter-hour hat trick
  • Deulofeu scores off bench

Raheem Sterling‘s quickfire hat trick started with a controversial ruling as Manchester City beat Watford 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Gerard Deulofeu scored for the Hornets, who will feel aggrieved that Sterling’s seemingly offside first goal was ruled onside for unusual reasons.

City increases its table lead to four matches before Liverpool hosts Burnley, while Watford will stay 8th unless Wolves are worked over by Chelsea on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

David Silva flew to head a Riyad Mahrez cross toward goal, but the ball flicked wide of the goal as Man City came close to a ninth minute opener.

Watford’s second unit, so to speak, was stout and took some work to break down. Aguero’s pounded down header of a powerful Bernardo Silva cross just missed the near post in the 29th minute.

Foster made a fine leg stop on Aguero five minutes later, and Mahrez just missed the upper 90 in stoppage time as Watford made it to halftime on level terms.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Raheem Sterling was ruled offside in the 46th minute after Aguero played him through for a finish.

But wait… a conversation between referee and linesman ended with the decision for a goal, as Sterling was fine because a clearing attempt hit Sterling and went into the goal. A head scratcher.

City made sure to put some distance between itself and the decision through a Mahrez cross through the box for a Sterling tap-in.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

David Silva then cued up Sterling for the hat trick, the Englishman needing plenty of work to cut in front and finish.

Watford pulled one back when Troy Deeney flicked a header to substitute Deulofeu for a goal with the Spaniard’s first touch of the match.

Gabriel Jesus would’ve felt he was about to slot for 4-1 when Christian Kabasele slid to block his 85th minute shot.

Man City wins, loses KDB, Stones (video)

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  • De Bruyne injured on contested dribble
  • Mahrez scores winner off bench
  • Cherries out-attemped by 23-0 margin

Manchester City didn’t have too many issues with control in a 1-0 win at Bournemouth, but will be worried after Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones left the field early at the Vitality Stadium.

Both players did not leave the stadium and finished the match on the bench, in what may be a hopeful sign.

Riyad Mahrez scored the goal as City moved atop the Premier League table by two points ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside Derby.

Bournemouth remains 12th, with 34 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Cherries were stout in the first half, especially impressive given the youth in their back line.

And perhaps their odds improved when both John Stones and Kevin De Bruyne were forced off due to injuries, the latter occurring during an uncontested dribble.

A substitute put Pep Guardiola‘s men ahead, with Riyad Mahrez bundling over the line from a tight angle.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Sergio Aguero seemed the best bet to double the lead, but the match hit its final 20 minutes still 1-0.

Artur Boruc made a fine intervention when Raheem Sterling was sprung 1v1 via a defensive error, and Mahrez hit a half-volley a mile over the goal.

Man City’s Kyle Walker was fortunate to remain in the game after a hard sliding challenge on Joshua King.

Boruc was again the man to make a great reflex save on an 86th minute corner kick.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Leicester City fires Claude Puel

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That’s all, folks.

Claude Puel‘s tumultuous tenure at Leicester City over, giving someone else the chance to chase down seventh place and a space in the Europa League.

[ MORE: Rafa praises Almiron ]

The Foxes are now eight points back of Wolves and Watford following a 4-1 loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday that saw Leicester out-attempt the Eagles 27-7.

Mike Stowell and Adam Sadler will lead the club until a fourth manager in two years is appointed at the King Power Stadium.

Puel’s tenure was confusing, a ninth-place finish last season followed up by the sale of Riyad Mahrez and a clash with star striker Jamie Vardy at a club now known for player power.

The French manager also had to oversee the squad through the tragic helicopter crash outside the stadium that claimed the lives of four including owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Leicester has lost five of six, with a draw at Liverpool the lone point of the skid.

The club has Brighton, Watford, Fulham, Burnley, Bournemouth, and Huddersfield Town next, giving the new manager a chance to “Ole” his way into favor and also climb back into the 7th place picture.

Foden, Man City advance in FA Cup (video)

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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  • Foden scores twice
  • Ederson with reaction save
  • Sane bloodies keeper’s nose with winner
  • Armond pulls one back before Foden restores two-goal lead

Second-half goals from Leroy Sane and Phil Foden ended Newport County’s game effort for a shock defeat of Manchester City in FA Cup fifth round action at Rodney Parade on Saturday.

Sane hit a close-range shot off the nose of Exiles’ keeper Joe Day and into the goal, as City finally found a goal on the beat-up shared rugby pitch, and Foden hit a bounding shot past Day with just over a quarter-hour to play in the 4-1 win.

Newport County’s goal came when Padraig Armond hit a loose ball off Aymeric Laporte, over Ederson, and into the goal. But Foden completed his brace with a dribble and finish off the ensuing kickoff, and Mahrez blistered the back of the net with a stoppage time finish.

City moves onto the quarterfinals, where they’ll join Watford, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Millwall.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

Newport was up for the challenge, at least early, and their rugged pitch certainly helped close the gap between the first- and fourth-tier English sides.

In fact, a terrific glove save from Ederson kept City level just after the quarter-hour mark. Mickey Demetriou’s long throw made its way to Tyreeq Bakinson, but the latter’s header was stymied by City’s Brazilian backstop.

A lively Riyad Mahrez was a consistent threat for City in the early stages, having one shot turned out for a corner and blazing a left-footed effort wide from atop the 18.

Despite the Algerian’s best efforts, Michael Flynn’s men took the match to halftime 0-0.

City broke through via Sane, whose tight-angled shot bloodied Joe Day’s nose on the way into the goal.

[ WATCH: Flynn greets “genius” Guardiola ]

Day got low to stop John Stones‘ bid for 2-0, and the game reached its final half-hour as a one-score affair.

An Ederson giveaway came close to gifting Newport County a bid for an equalizer, but the Brazilian was bailed out by his backs.

Phil Foden gave a ay a free kick rescued by Ederson after a few headers in the 73rd.

The pitch helped City’s second goal, as Foden’s shot bounded over a diving Day to make it 2-0.

Day then saved a Sane shot with his face in the 85th minute before catching a Gabriel Jesus effort moments later.

The Exiles pulled one back, but City bagged a pair of goals afterward through Foden and Mahrez to flatter their match with a 4-1 score line.