LONDON: Manchester City moved to the brink of a third Premier League title in four seasons as a piece of magic by Sergio Aguero set them on the way to a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace yesterday.
Pep Guardiola’s side were totally dominant but missing a cutting edge until Aguero’s stunning half-volley finish just before the hour mark broke Palace’s resolve at Selhurst Park.
A minute later Ferran Torres’s clinical low shot doubled City’s advantage and they could have racked up a bigger margin of victory as they turned on the style with Raheem Sterling denied by the woodwork and Joao Cancelo also going close.
With four games left City have 80 points, 13 ahead of Manchester United who host Liverpool today knowing that defeat would seal the title for their neighbours.
Should United draw today they could still mathematically catch City but their goal difference is far inferior. If United win, City can seal the title by beating Chelsea next weekend.
The wealth of options available to Guardiola was evident as he left the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Ruben Dias and Kyle Walker on the bench, with one eye on Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final against Paris St Germain.
Yet his starting line-up still oozed quality with an attacking quartet of Aguero, Sterling, Jesus and Torres. Sterling, whose place in the starting line-up is no longer guaranteed, should have put City ahead after skipping into the box but he delayed his shot and his effort was blocked.
It was left to Aguero, veteran of four City title triumphs, to break the deadlock with a finish of stunning quality.
The 32-year-old Argentine, in the final weeks of his City career, was picked out by Benjamin Mendy’s pass. His first touch was superb and his second even better as he thrashed the ball past Guaita without breaking stride.