Champions Manchester City galvanized their pursuit of English Premier League leaders Chelsea on Sunday with an emphatic 3-0 victory over a Southampton side who have surprisingly come between the leading title protagonists.
With table-topping Chelsea held to a 0-0 draw against Sunderland on Saturday, victory for City at fortress St Mary’s took them above Southampton into second place, six points behind Jose Mourinho’s pacesetters.
Tottenham Hotspur came from a goal down to beat Everton 2-1 with goals from Christian Eriksen and Roberto Soldado moving Spurs up to seventh.
After a less than convincing start to the defense of their title, City’s display against Southampton saw them back to their free-flowing best as goals from Yaya Toure, Frank Lampard and Gael Clichy condemned Ronald Koeman’s high-flying side to a first home defeat of the season.
“We beat a very good team,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini told Sky Sports. “They were second in the table and deserved that position. It was important to have a clean sheet again, they had just one chance in the 90 minutes and that is important for the trust in our team. It was close in the first 45 minutes, and we continued working as a team in defense and attack until we scored.”
City screamed for a penalty for a foul on Sergio Aguero in a goalless first half when Jose Fonte’s hefty challenge wiped out the Argentine in the penalty area.
Incredibly, Aguero, making his 100th Premier League appearance, was booked for diving, but Ivorian midfielder Toure, so often City’s go-to man on their way to the title last season, put his side in front after 51 minutes when his low shot from the edge of the penalty area flicked off Saints defender Toby Alderweireld and past Fraser Forster.
When French defender Eliaquim Mangala received a second yellow for a foul on Shane Long it seemed Southampton had a lifeline, but that was snatched away when Lampard ghosted through into space and buried his shot low into the corner after being picked out by James Milner.
Clichy hammered the final nail into Southampton’s coffin when he fired home in the 88th minute.
“I’m disappointed because in the second half the beginning was a bit better than the start of the game,” Koeman told Sky Sports after his side dropped to third place. “You know that if you do some mistakes, you are punished for that. It was not good enough today and we have to realize that. The difference was the quality.”
Everton’s Kevin Mirallas produced a stunning long-range strike to open the scoring at White Hart Lane in Sunday’s clash between two Europa League representatives.
Tottenham equalized six minutes later when Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard palmed Harry Kane’s shot into the path of Eriksen, who kept his composure to score.
In first-half stoppage-time, Soldado scored his first league goal since March when he raced on to Aaron Lennon’s astute pass and powered a shot past Howard.
Everton applied pressure late on, but Spurs stayed strong to avoid their third consecutive league defeat at home.
“Today, I showed my emotion, I was happy because I know our players suffer a lot and our supporters too,” Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino told Sky Sports. “We need to keep this mentality and try to show the same in the next game. Always, you need the time to set your philosophy, but today we are very pleased with the three points.”
Defeat for Everton was their first in six league matches.
“The result is really difficult to take,” Toffees manager Roberto Martinez said. “It’s harsh because we performed really well, but after we scored we couldn’t impose ourselves and take ourselves away from Spurs. We gave everything we had to get an equalizer.”
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
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‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first