Manchester City win Premier League title after wild comeback

MANCHESTER, England — Manchester City clinched a sixth Premier League title in 11 seasons on Sunday by scoring three goals in five minutes to beat Aston Villa 3-2 in the final and avoid being toppled by challengers Liverpool.

City were 2-0 behind Villa until İlkay Gündoğan started the comeback in the 76th minute. Rodri equalized two minutes later and Gündoğan put City ahead in the 81st minute.

At a point when City were losing they were still poised to defend the title as Liverpool were only drawn 1-1 with Wolverhampton. But Mohamed Salah then put the runners-up ahead in the 84th minute, which would have put Liverpool in first place had City not led their comeback at the Etihad Stadium. Andy Robertson then sealed Liverpool’s 3-1 win.

Had City conceded a late equalizer, Liverpool would have snatched the trophy, but Pep Guardiola’s side held on to victory in a thrilling climax.

Ilkay Gundogan celebrates Manchester City's third goal with Gabriel Jesus.
Ilkay Gundogan celebrates Manchester City’s third goal with Gabriel Jesus.
REUTERS

Pep Guardiola defended the trophy more nervously than expected on the final day when City briefly held a 14-point lead in January.

City’s fourth championship win in five seasons was a first for Guardiola. It’s the first time City have sealed the title in front of their own fans, who flocked to the field by the thousands at the final whistle against Villa.

While on point, it came without the agony of 10 years ago, when City’s first Premier League title was won in the closing minutes of the season.

That success, which earned City their first league crown in 44 years – with Roberto Mancini as manager – ushered in an era of dominance for a club transformed by the influx of investment from Abu Dhabi.

City are now enjoying the steady stream of titles they once had when crosstown rivals United clinched victory under Alex Ferguson. City’s rise coincided with the retirement of the Scot, who won the Premier League 13 times from 1993 to 2013, and the decline of Manchester United.

The teams went into the finals on Sunday, with City 32 points ahead of United and Liverpool posing the bigger threat to Guardiola’s side. In the last five seasons, the only time City have not lifted the trophy was when Liverpool’s 30-year title drought ended in 2020.

But it will be another season that ends with City failing to win the biggest prize in European football – the Champions League – while Liverpool are set to play the final against Real Madrid on May 28.

While Liverpool’s net spending on transfers has hovered around $250m over the last five years, City’s have been more than $530m.

Manchester City fans celebrate after the team won the Premier League title on Sunday.
Manchester City fans celebrate after the team won the Premier League title on Sunday.
AP

City’s financial power wasn’t enough to convince Tottenham to sell Harry Kane before this season, so Guardiola had to achieve that title without a recognizable striker. Despite this, City were able to break the UK transfer record and sign Jack Grealish for £100m ($139m), although the midfielder started sparingly.

City have already beefed up their attack for next season by inking a deal with Borussia Dortmund to sign Erling Haaland for €60m ($63m), adding one of Europe’s most exciting young strikers to the squad.

Still, concerns remain among human rights activists and less affluent rivals over the Abu Dhabi club’s ownership and actions.

Human rights abuses by the United Arab Emirates are glossed over by City fans, who largely overlook how their club has been used as a tool of soft power by a state that is using the glamor of the world’s greatest sport to cleanse its image.

City owner Sheikh Mansour has only been spotted at one game in his 14 years as an owner. Mansour, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, has been condemned by the British government for recently hosting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

City were fined 10 million euros ($12 million) in 2020 for obstructing a UEFA probe into their finances after the club’s internal correspondence was leaked. But the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned a two-year ban on the Champions League because claims that the club disguised the revenue stream as overstated sponsorships from companies linked to its Abu Dhabi property were either dismissed or found too ancient. to be examined.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/22/manchester-city-wins-premier-league-title-after-wild-comeback/ Manchester City win Premier League title after wild comeback

JOE HERNANDEZ

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