Manchester City thrash Newcastle to seize on Liverpool's slip-up in title race

    Aymeric Laporte celebrates with his teammates after scoring Manchester City's second goal against Newcastle United.

    (CNN)Manchester City licked the wounds of its heartbreaking Champions League exit by taking a step towards the Premier League title with a dominant 5-0 victory over Newcastle United on Sunday.

    Liverpool's frustrating draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday offered City the opportunity to go three points clear at the summit with just three games to play, and Pep Guardiola's side made no mistake with a scintillating performance at the Etihad Stadium.
    Raheem Sterling's opener settled any lingering nerves following Wednesday's semifinal collapse against Real Madrid, which had seen City -- seemingly cruising through to a second straight final -- concede twice at the death before Karim Benzema completed the fightback in extra-time.
      Goals from Spanish duo Aymeric Laporte and Rodri against Newcastle were followed by late strikes from Phil Foden and Sterling, adding further gloss on a near-perfect weekend for City, who will retain its Premier League crown with victories over Wolves, West Ham and Aston Villa regardless of Liverpool's efforts.
        Despite the continued elusiveness of the Champions League, another league victory would mark a fourth in five years for the Citizens, and simultaneously end Liverpool's pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple.
        After a tumultuous week, it was a "perfect afternoon" for Guardiola, whose faith in his team responding to midweek's defeat was never shaken.
        "With what this team have done, do you have any doubt?" Guardiola told Sky Sports.
          "We are five years doing this every three days. If some people doubted us they don't know this team.
          "It's one of the best groups I ever trained in my life," he added.
          Sterling heads in the opener.

          Sterling start

          An entertaining opening saw both sides squander excellent chances before Sterling nodded home Joao Cancelo's cushioned header.
          His 83rd league goal under Guardiola, the 27-year-old has now surpassed Sergio Agüero as the club's highest league goalscorer during the Spanish coach's tenure.
          Many a beautiful goal have been scored at the Etihad since Guardiola's arrival in 2016 -- City's second was not one of them.
          Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka fumbled Ilkay Gundogan's bouncing strike into the path of Ruben Dias, his subsequent save presenting the ball to Laporte, who bundled home for his fourth league goal of the season.
          City fans might have been forgiven for not being content with a two-goal advantage after the Madrid collapse, but as the home side's possession count ticked closer to 70%, even the most pessimistic must have relaxed after Rodri added the third.
          The Spaniard escaped his marker to head home De Bruyne's corner for his third league goal in as many games. For a team renowned for its flowing passing moves, incredibly, it marked City's Premier League-high 20th set-piece goal of the season, according to BBC Sport.
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