Champions City Survive Late Watford Scare To Go Five Clear

Dec 05 - by AFP for sportpesa news

Doucoure late strike not enough to prevent EPL titleholders from leaving Vicarage Road with a 2-1 victory, West Ham, Brighton, Bournemouth register wins

Manchester City's German midfielder Leroy Sane is mobbed by teammates after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Manchester City at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on December 4, 2018. PHOTO/AFP

  • City had been frustrated early on by saves from Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster until Sane scored in the 40th minute by bundling in Riyad Mahrez's inswinging cross with his chest
  • Brighton produced one of the best Premier League performances of the season to sweep aside Crystal Palace despite playing for 62 minutes with only 10 men
  • Lucas Perez on loan from Arsenal came off the bench to score twice as West Ham comfortably beat Cardiff 3-1 at London Stadium in the Premier League
  • Bournemouth moved up to sixth in the Premier League after early goals from Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser were enough to see off Huddersfield 2-1

WATFORD, England- Goals from Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez gave Manchester City a hard-fought win at Watford on Tuesday night which re-established their five-point cushion at the top of the Premier League table.

City had been frustrated early on by saves from Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster until Sane scored in the 40th minute by bundling in Riyad Mahrez's inswinging cross with his chest.

Six minutes after half-time Mahrez - recalled as manager Pep Guardiola once again rotated his team - increased the lead by sweeping in Gabriel Jesus' cross at the back post.

City controlled the game with more than 70 per cent of possession but Abdoulaye Doucoure scrambled in for Watford in the 85th minute to give the hosts hope of an unlikely comeback.

That resulted in a nervy finish for City but they held on to move five points clear of second-placed Liverpool who will again try to reduce the gap when they travel to Burnley on Wednesday.

Lucas Perez on loan from Arsenal came off the bench to score twice as West Ham comfortably beat Cardiff 3-1 at London Stadium in the Premier League.

Perez, who replaced the injured Marko Arnautovic in the first half, struck twice in nine minutes at the start of the second.

Michail Antonio headed a third at the near post on the hour from Robert Snodgrass' corner, although Josh Murphy bundled in a consolation for Cardiff with the last touch of the game.

West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski had saved Joe Ralls' first-half penalty.

Perez scored his first league goal in 700 days following some sloppy defending from Cardiff and a clever chip by Snodgrass, and added a second when played in on the left-hand side of the penalty area by Arthur Masuaku.

West Ham, who moved up to 12th in the table - nine points clear of the relegation zone - were dominant in the first half and finally made their chances count after the break.

Brighton sparkle

Brighton produced one of the best Premier League performances of the season to sweep aside Crystal Palace despite playing for 62 minutes with only 10 men.

Moments after the Seagulls went 1-0 up through Glenn Murray's spot-kick, defender Shane Duffy was sent off for thrusting his head at Patrick van Aanholt after referee Kevin Friend had turned down a second penalty appeal.

Playmaker Pascal Gross was immediately replaced by the more defensive-minded Leon Balogun, and the substitute's first touch was a stunning strike to double the home side's lead.

The best was yet to come for the hosts, as Florin Andone ran 40 yards down the left to fire in the third goal in first-half stoppage time. The Romanian forward had only been on the pitch for 14 minutes, having replaced the injured Murray.

Home goalkeeper Mat Ryan had little to do until the 81st minute, when he was beaten by Luka Milivojevic's penalty.

Chris Hughton's side managed to subdue Palace's attack in the remaining minutes to record a memorable win.

Bournemouth moved up to sixth in the Premier League after early goals from Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser were enough to see off Huddersfield 2-1.

The Cherries, who had lost their last four games, went ahead after five minutes as Wilson muscled home a powerful header from Fraser's cross.

Wilson returned the favour soon after, slipping in Fraser for a well-worked second.

Huddersfield rallied with Terence Kongolo's first goal for the club halving the deficit before the interval. Aaron Mooy shot low into the shins of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic from the best chance created during a spell of pressure on the other side of the break, but ultimately the Terriers left themselves with too much to do.

Bournemouth's win lifts them above Leicester, Manchester United and Everton, all of whom play on Wednesday.

The hosts' recent poor results did not reflect the quality of their performances in single-goal defeats by Arsenal, Newcastle and Manchester United and last weekend's 3-1 reverse by Manchester City.

Certainly Huddersfield, perched perilously one point above the relegation zone, struggled to contain the intelligent and incisive home attack early on.

Wilson, who scored a hat-trick in this fixture last year, found the Terriers defence in accommodating mood once again as he beat the offside trap and buried a header after just five minutes.

Fraser came close to providing a second shortly after, picking out Joshua King in the box, before bursting up the left to supply a side-foot finish to a slide-rule Wilson pass.

It perhaps came a little too easily for the hosts who slipped deep and switched off early in the second half. An increasingly edgy Vitality Stadium greeted the final whistle with relief.