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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Ten-man Manchester City show silk and steel to extend Premier League lead

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Manchester City moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League despite having Rodri sent-off in a fiery 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Phil Foden and Erling Haaland struck inside the first 15 minutes as City extended their perfect start in the Premier League to six games.

Pep Guardiola’s men have now won 20 consecutive home matches in all competitions, but were made to work much harder by Rodri’s moment of madness.

The Spaniard grabbed Morgan Gibbs-White around the neck less than 60 seconds into the second-half and could face a costly suspension as a three-game ban would see him miss the Premier League visit to Arsenal next month.

City were at their ruthless best early on to seemingly put the game to bed.

Foden smashed home a sweet volley from Kyle Walker’s cushioned cross to open the scoring.

Guardiola said after losing Bernardo Silva to injury in a 3-1 win over Red Star Belgrade that his squad was “in trouble” due to a number of injuries.

Mateo Kovacic and John Stones remain sidelined, while Jack Grealish was only fit enough for a place on the bench.

But the absences gave Matheus Nunes a chance to make his first league start since joining from Wolves and he made a positive impact by setting up the second goal.

The Portuguese played a neat one-two with Foden before chipping the ball across for Haaland to power home his ninth goal of the season.

Julian Alvarez could have added to City’s lead when his effort from point-blank range was blocked behind.

But the European champions did not appear in any danger until Rodri lost his cool.

Taiwo Awoniyi had Forest’s best chance to get back into the game when the in-form Nigerian lifted over under pressure from Ederson.

Awoniyi and the Brazilian goalkeeper were then lucky not to also see red as they went head-to-head in a fiery confrontation.

City, though, restored order as Guardiola switched to a back five to withstand an aerial bombardment from the visitors.

Haaland should have had his second when he spooned over with the goal gaping from Nathan Ake’s cross late on.

Elsewhere, Luton picked up their first ever Premier League point but let a huge opportunity slip in a 1-1 draw at home to Wolves.

The visitors at Kenilworth Road were reduced to 10 men when Jean-Ricner Bellegarde saw red on 39 minutes.

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Pedro Neto still fired Wolves in front early in the second-half, but Carlton Morris’ penalty salved a point for Luton.

Crystal Palace and Fulham remain in the top half after a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park.

All the pack directly behind City at the top of the table are in action on Sunday.

Arsenal host Tottenham in the north London derby, while Liverpool host West Ham and Brighton take on Bournemouth.

AFP

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