LONDON: Manchester City had to overcome their nerves as well as West Ham in the London Stadium before securing the 2-2 draw which kept them on course for a fourth league title in five seasons.
City might even have won but Riyad Mahrez missed a late penalty. Even if Jurgen Klopp’s fatigue and injury-battered Liverpool win at Southampton on City will still enter the last weekend with a one-point lead over the Reds.
West Ham had needed a win to maintain their pursuit of Manchester United for the last Europa League place. Two fine goals from Jarrod Bowen provided them with a 2-0 halftime lead before Jack Grealish’s deflected volley pulled City back into the game early in the second half.
Hammers wasted more chances of their own before Vladimir Coufal headed a Mahrez free-kick into his own net with 20 minutes remaining. Mahrez then had what would have been a winning penalty saved by Lukasz Fabianski after Gabriel Jesus had been fouled by Craig Dawson.
City can secure a second successive league title by winning at home to Aston Villa on Sunday. They will be champions tomorrow if Liverpool lose at Southampton.
Manager Pep Guardiola said: “In this league it is so difficult to make a comeback from two goals down against opponents as hard as this. I told the players at halftime that I love them, how good they are and that if we score we have a chance to come back – and it happened.
“Now we know we will have opportunity to win this title in our own stadium n front of our own people. The fans will give us everything and we will give them everything. It’s an incredible opportunity. We will give our lives to win this game.”
Guardiola’s men will then start again next season as title favourites after Erling Haaland arrives during the summer to lead their attack from Borussia Dortmund.
** Everton remain in danger after losing 3-2 at home to Brentford. Dominic Calvert-Lewin provided early hope but then Everton had defender Jarrad Branthwaite sent off and conceded two second-half goals in three minutes to Yoane Wissa and Rico Henry. Everton ended with nine men after having substitute Salomon Rondon sent off. Now they must win either at home to Crystal Palace on Thursday or at Arsenal on Sunday.
** Leeds Leeds are still alive in the fight for survival. But they needed a stoppage-time equaliser from Pascal Struijk to rescue a 1-1 home draw against a Brighton team who could have killed the game after taking an early lead through Danny Welbeck. Leeds are still in danger. They are one point above Burnley but have played one game more. Manager Jesse Marsh said: “Nothing comes easy for us. We dig holes and then have to find a way to dig ourselves out.”
** Tottenham reclaimed the all-important fourth Champions League place after Harry Kane’s 16th goal of term, from a penalty in the eighth minute of first-half stoppage time, provided a 1-0 win over struggling Burnley.
Spurs’ 1-0 win built on their three-goal derby defeat of Arsenal on Thursday. The Gunners must win at Newcastle on Monday to overtake Spurs again.
** Chelsea completed the English women’s double by defeating Manchester City 3-2 after extra time in their own FA Cup Final at Wembley