Manchester City moved to within touching distance of a first English league title in 44 years after Yaya Toure scored twice in a 2-0 win at Newcastle United on Sunday.
Victory left leaders City in front of reigning Premier League champions Manchester United — who beat Swansea City 2-0 later on Sunday — on goal-difference with just one round of fixtures remaining.
City have a goal-difference advantage of eight over United and if they beat Queens Park Rangers at Eastlands on Sunday, they will be all but assured of the title.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s United side would need to thrash Sunderland at the Stadium of Light to stand a chance of retaining their crown.
At St James’ Park, Ivory Coast midfielder Toure opened the scoring for City in the 70th minute when he struck a curling shot from the edge of the box that beat Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul.
Last crowned champions of England in 1968, City wasted several chances, before Toure finished off a counterattack a minute from time to seal the victory.
However, Toure warned that there was still work to be done.
“It’s not finished,” he told Sky Sports. “We have one game left and we have to be careful as QPR are fighting to stay in the Premier League. This is brilliant for us, though.”
City manager Roberto Mancini, whose side were eight points behind United just a few weeks ago, added: “I hope [this is enough], but I think that it is not.”
The defeat left Newcastle in fifth place — just outside the top-four spot they need to have a chance of Champions League qualification.
Before kickoff at Old Trafford, United manager Ferguson admitted City had “probably two” hands on the Premier League trophy.
And after seeing his side beat Swansea, Ferguson was left hoping former United striker and former City manager Mark Hughes, the QPR coach, could do the champions a favor.
“QPR need a point — you never know,” he said. “I just wish Sparky [Hughes] was playing.”
Paul Scholes — brought out of retirement earlier this season — gave United a 28th-minute lead after turning in a shot from fellow midfielder Michael Carrick.
Four minutes before the break United had a second when Ashley Young’s low strike beat Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm.
Elsewhere, 10-man Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa, who edged nearer top-flight survival.
Victory would have seen fourth-placed Tottenham leapfrog north London rivals Arsenal into third spot and a guaranteed place in the first round of next season’s Champions League, but they fell behind in the 35th minute to Villa midfielder Ciaran Clark’s deflected shot.
Early in the second half, Tottenham’s Danny Rose was sent off for a two-footed challenge on former Spurs defender Alan Hutton.
However, Spurs were level in the 62nd minute when Emmanuel Adebayor scored from the penalty spot after Richard Dunne fouled Sandro.
At the bottom of the table, QPR moved two points clear of the relegation zone after Djibril Cisse’s 89th-minute winner secured a 1-0 win at home to Stoke City.
Hughes, looking ahead to the City match, said: “It would be a fantastic story if we were able to go there and get something. They are going for titles and we are trying to stay in this league.”
Bolton Wanderers remained in the bottom three after a 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion.
Martin Petrov’s penalty and a Billy Jones own-goal put Bolton 2-0 up, but late goals from Chris Brunt and James Morrison saw the Baggies draw level.