Manchester City will have to wait to get hold on the Premier League trophy as they were condemned to a 2-1 loss against Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Had Manchester City won on Saturday, they would have got the league title but Chelsea had different plans. This was expected to be a view into what UEFA Champions League final might be like and if there is anything to go by, it will be a very tight contest. Marcos Alonso scored the winning goal in the stoppage time as Chelsea spoiled Manchester City’s party.
Raheem Sterling had given City the lead in the 44th minute but Sergio Aguero missed from the spot before half time as he tried the panenka against Edouard Mendy. In the second half, City had numerous chances to find the back of the net but they failed to do so and Hakim Ziyech equalised in the 63rd minute. City were then denied a possible penalty, even after a VAR check, and soon after Marcos Alonso’s strike gave Chelsea the big win.
The point lifts Chelsea to 64 points, six clear of fifth-placed West Ham with just three games to go. City could, however, be crowned champions before they play again. Manchester United face three matches before Guardiola’s men are next in action, against Newcastle on Friday.
Thomas Tuchel’s in-form team ended City’s dreams of a historic quadruple by beating them in the FA Cup semi-final last month and they once more proved tricky opponents.
City, who have a huge 13-point advantage over second-placed Manchester United, are certain to win their third Premier League title in four years but must now wait for it to be confirmed.
Pep Guardiola made nine changes from the side that saw off Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final in midweek, with Ederson and Ruben Dias the only players to keep their places.
Chelsea made five changes following their triumph over Real Madrid.
The home side dominated possession in the early stages, with Ferran Torres firing over after a thrust down the right and Benjamin Mendy shooting wide.
Raheem Sterling was booked in the 12th minute after catching Timo Werner with his studs but the punishment could have been worse.
Werner had the ball in the net just after the half-hour but he was well offside and Sterling had a shot at the other end but clear-cut chances were at a premium.
Ziyech tested Ederson in the City goal as the half-time break neared but moments later the home side were ahead.
Gabriel Jesus shrugged off Andreas Christensen to break into the area. He squared, looking for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine’s touch was poor but Sterling was on hand to tuck home.
City should have been 2-0 in first-half stoppage time but Aguero paid the price for attempting a Panenka penalty that was easily saved by Edouard Mendy, drawing the ire of Guardiola.
Jesus won the spot-kick when he was bundled over by Billy Gilmour.
As the second half wore on the visitors started to establish a foothold and they equalised just after the hour when Rodri lost possession on the halfway line.
Chelsea broke down the right and Cesar Azpilicueta picked out Ziyech just outside the area. The Moroccan drilled a low shot into the bottom corner.
Guardiola threw on Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden for Torres and Aguero as his side went in search of the win.
Chelsea substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi had the ball in the net with about 10 minutes to go but the goal was ruled out for a marginal offside.
The finish was frantic. Sterling had a penalty appeal turned down and Alonso then grabbed a last-gasp winner after an assist from Werner.
Tuchel has transformed Chelsea’s fortunes since replacing Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge in January, losing just two matches on his way to the FA Cup final and Champions League final.
Their remaining three league matches are against Arsenal, Leicester — their FA Cup final opponents — and Aston Villa but they will now be strongly fancied to qualify for the Champions League for the third season in a row.
(With AFP inputs)