LONDON: Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City clung onto the coat-tails of Premier League pacesetters Liverpool with a hard-fought 3-1 win against Everton in the late kick-off on Saturday.

City had to work hard at Goodison Park against an Everton side that had eight shots on target but came up against inspired goalkeeping from Brazilian Ederson.

Brazilian Jesus stooped at the back post to head in a Kevin De Bruyne cross to put the champions ahead in the 24th minute.

A determined Everton got back on level terms, though, nine minutes later, when after poor clearance from Fernandinho, Seamus Coleman lofted the ball goalwards and Dominic Calvert-Lewin dived to make sure with a header on the line.

There were chances for both teams before City got back in front with a low free kick into the far corner from Mahrez after Yerry Mina had brought down De Bruyne.

Sterling made sure of the three points, blasting home off the underside of the bar after a low cross from substitute Sergio Aguero was deflec­­ted out off the foot of Everton keeper Jordan Pickford.

“It’s always difficult here,” said Guardiola, whose side moved back to within five points of Liverpool. “First half we started incredible, the first 20-25 minutes, then we had problems to control Gylfi Sigurdsson in that position.

“But we created from wide areas in the second half and we had the quality of Riyad Mahrez for the goal. Everton have fast players, they caused a lot of problems at the back, so I’m delighted because we want to go for this league and try to win it again.”

LEICESTER THRASH NEWCASTLE

In the only game on Sunday, a superb solo goal by Ricardo Pereira and a Jamie Vardy brace helped lift Leicester City to third place, leaving them just two points behind Manchester City, as they thrashed 10 man Newcastle United 5-0.

Brendan Rodgers’ side maintained their impressive start to the season as they romped to a fourth win in their last five league games.

Despite playmaker James Maddison missing out due to an ankle injury, Leicester still got off to a great start when defender Pereira finished a surging run at the flat-footed Newcastle defence by slotting the ball home in the 16th minute.

Whatever slim chance Newcastle had of getting something out of the game quickly evaporated when midfielder Isaac Hayden was shown a straight red card just before halftime for a dangerous challenge on Dennis Praet.

Vardy added the second in the 54th minute, latching on to a pass from Harvey Barnes to finish first-time with his left foot from a very tight angle. There was more shambolic defending from Newcastle as Paul Dummett deflected Praet’s shot into his own goal shortly afterwards.

Vardy stole in at the far post to head the fourth from Marc Albrighton’s cross in the 64th minute and Wilfred Ndidi scored the fifth in the final minute of normal time.

The win lifts Leicester to third place on 14 points ahead of their visit to Liverpool, while Steve Bruce’s side are second from bottom and will host Manchester United next.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2019