Raheem Sterling scores his side’s third goal of the game, during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Saturday. (AP photo)
LONDON: Manchester City ran riot in the second half at the Etihad to thrash Crystal Palace 5-0 in the Premier League on Saturday, while Manchester United made hard work of their 1-0 win at Southampton.
City were second best for much of the first half but Leroy Sane’s goal just before halftime gave them the momentum to go on to rout Palace who became the first side in English Football League history to lose their opening six games of the season without scoring.
United were far less convincing in their success at Southampton but Romelu Lukaku’s first-half goal was enough to ensure they stay level on points with leaders City. Referee Craig Pawson’s decision to send manager Jose Mourinho to the stands late on put a dampener on the result at St Mary’s.
The Portuguese declined to be drawn on the incident but was full of praise for his side’s defensive efforts.
“We fought hard,” Mourinho said. “We did for 20, 25 minutes what many teams do for 90 minutes which is to play with five at the back. So many teams are always defensive.
“That being said, we had two incredible chances to kill the game. Our attacking players were not sharp.”
One striker very much on form was Alvaro Morata, whose hat-trick helped Chelsea to keep pace with the Manchester clubs. Antonio Conte’s men remain three points behind in third after their 4-0 win at Stoke.
Tottenham climbed into the top four after a thrilling 3-2 win at London Stadium over West Ham.
In Manchester, Sane’s brilliant goal for City seemed somewhat undeserved but Palace struggled to cope with their slick football in the second half.
Raheem Sterling helped himself to a quick-fire goal after the break, before Sergio Aguero got a goal 11 minutes from time.
Fabian Delph’s late stunner ensured City became the first side to score five or more goals in three consecutive top-flight games in the same season since Blackburn in 1958-59.
While manager Pep Guardiola was pleased with City’s second-half showing, he admitted to being concerned about their sluggish start.
“We started well, in the first five or 10 minutes, but after that we were not good,” Guardiola said. “We did not move the ball well but in the second half we were at our level; we regained our tempo.
“Eight players did not play in midweek and when you change for different competitions you are not as sharp as when you play every three days.
Wayne Rooney went off with a bloody eye injury after a clash with a defender as Everton hosted Bournemouth and his replacement Oumar Niasse decided the match, netting a double to earn a 2-1 win after Josh King had given the visitors the lead.
Meanwhile, Simon Mignolet conceded and then saved a late penalty as Liverpool clung on for a 3-2 win over Leicester City in a pulsating Premier League clash at the King Power Stadium.
The Belgian keeper fouled Vardy with a mistimed fly-kick when desperately trying to clear his lines but, having been booked, got up to parry the England striker’s spot-kick as Liverpool clung on in a game where they twice enjoyed two-goal leads.
Mignolet has now saved five of the past eight penalties he’s faced.
“I count points, not penalty saves,” the goalkeeper said afterwards.
The visitors dominated the first half and opened the scoring through Mo Salah’s far-post header from Philippe Coutinho’s cross a minute after the Egyptian missed a sitter. The goal was Salah’s sixth of the season.
Coutinho looked back to his best and increased the lead with a curled 25-metre free-kick inside Casper Schmeichel’s post on 23 minutes but Liverpool conceded just before the break when Shinji Okazaki converted a knockdown despite strong appeals for a foul on the keeper.
Goals flow at both ends whenever Liverpool play and no sooner had Jordan Henderson restored their two-goal advantage than Vardy headed Leicester’s second before spurning the chance of an equaliser.
Even then, Leicester could have had another penalty when Can handled.
In south Wales, Richarlison scored a last-gasp winner to earn Watford a 2-1 victory over Swansea — the Hornets’ third away success in a row.