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erling haaland double puts manchester city in control of title destiny
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Erling Haaland double puts Manchester City in control of title destiny

Manchester City went within one game of being crowned champions after Erling Haaland’s brace gave them a 2-0 victory over Tottenham in the Premier League. Haaland’s 51st-minute goal and added-time penalty – moments after substitute goalkeeper Stefan Ortega saved brilliantly from Son Heung-min – sent City back to the top of the table at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium ahead of their final match against West Ham on Sunday. Title rivals Arsenal, who sit two points behind City on 86 points with a superior goal difference, needed Pep Guardiola’s side to drop points if they wanted the destiny of the title to be in their hands this weekend. Arsenal beat Manchester United in their 37th match and now host Everton at the Emirates Stadium on the final day. City started on the back foot as they managed the nerves of a potential title-defining occasion in north London. Brennan Johnson’s low cross was hit first-time by Rodrigo Bentancur in the early minutes as Ederson tipped over to bail out his sleepwalking back four. Only a win would do for City if they wanted to return to the summit ahead of the final day and Phil Foden understood the assignment as he almost gave his side the lead. The England international capitalised on a gift from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s sliced clearance which gave him a chance to finish on the volley, but Guglielmo Vicario spread himself to deny him from inside the area. Guardiola was more animated than usual on the touchline as his team struggled to assert themselves. Ruben Dias had been sloppy in possession a handful of times, Kevin De Bruyne was being marked out the game and a wayward attempt from Josko Gvardiol in the 39th minute was all they had mustered since Foden’s golden opportunity. De Bruyne responded well after the break however. He forced another save out of Vicario before the Belgium international was instrumental in the build-up to City’s 51st-minute opener. The midfielder overlapped into a pocket of space which allowed him to pick out Haaland for a simple tap-in from inside the six-yard area. The goal was welcomed by cheers and chants of “are you watching Arsenal” from the home section as the goal damaged Spurs’ rivals’ chances of a first title since 2004. Ederson took a knock to the head in a collision with Cristian Romero and was soon replaced by Ortega. The Brazilian, like Tottenham’s Rodrigo Bentancur before him, reacted angrily on the touchline after being withdrawn. It was not long before City’s second-choice keeper was called upon as Spurs ramped up the pressure. Dejan Kulusevski benefited from a fortunate ricochet off Manuel Akanji and the winger’s drilled effort was stopped by Ortega who managed to close his legs to keep his team in front and at the top of the table. Ortega’s heroics continued into the 86th minute when Akanji lost the ball in possession, allowing Son to go one-on-one. The German keeper stood strong, getting a firm leg out to deny the Spurs skipper. Substitute Jeremy Doku broke on the counter and bought a penalty off Romero. Haaland was the obvious taker and the Premier League top scorer smashed his effort into the top left-hand corner to confirm a 2-0 victory.

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