Nervy Man City beat Allardyce's Leeds to go four points clear at top


Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 2-0 during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Leeds United at Etihad Stadium on May 6, 2023 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Manchester City moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League by surviving a late scare to beat a Leeds side playing under new manager Sam Allardyce for the first time.

Two fine first-half goals by Ilkay Gundogan had done the damage for City, who appeared utterly dominant as they headed towards their 10th straight league win.

Gundogan’s first neat finish, which came after Riyad Mahrez found him in space on the edge of the area, was into the bottom left-hand corner of Joel Robles’ goal.

His second, again with Mahrez the provider, was identical apart from that he found the opposite corner of the net.

City were in full control but could not find a third goal to finish Leeds off after the break. Even Erling Haaland, for once, failed to score – his best effort came back off the post.

Their best chance to wrap the game up came with six minutes to go, when Pascal Struijk fouled Phil Foden inside the area and referee Andrew Madley pointed to the spot.

Regular penalty-taker Haaland passed up the chance to take it and add to his 51-goal tally for the season, but saw Gundogan miss out on a hat-trick when he sent his effort against the post.

That gave Leeds hope and, only 58 seconds later, they were somehow back in the game. Manuel Akanji failed to deal with a long ball and substitute Rodrigo beat Ederson with a low finish.

Their noisy supporters roared them forward in search of an unlikely equaliser but City were not in the mood to let the three points slip.

Pep Guardiola’s side march on, with the next step in their Treble bid coming against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on Tuesday, in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.

Leeds and Allardyce, meanwhile, only have a grim fight against relegation ahead.

With three games left, they remain out of the relegation zone on goal difference – but they will have to show far more attacking intent in the next few weeks if they are to avoid the drop.

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