Haaland leads Man City over Southampton; Spurs beat Brighton on Kane goal
Sports Desk, Apr 8 (EFE).- Erling Haaland had a brace Saturday as Manchester City crushed last-place Southampton 4-1 to narrow the gap to Premier League leaders Arsenal and Harry Kane powered Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 over Brighton & Hove Albion.
It was a triumphant return to the lineup for Haaland, who missed last week’s demolition of Liverpool due to injury.
With 44 goals this season in all competitions, including 30 in the Premier League, the Norwegian sensation has nine games left to beat the league record of 34.
The result on the South Coast lifted the defending champions to 67 points, 5 behind Arsenal, who are away to Liverpool on Sunday.
Fifth-place Spurs, playing under interim manager Cristian Stellini, improved to 53 points and remain in the hunt for a top four finish, though the two teams ahead of them – Newcastle United and Manchester United – each have a game in hand.
The combination of their loss to Tottenham and Aston Villa’s 2-0 victory against Nottingham Forest saw Brighton slip to seventh in the table, a point behind the surging Birmingham side.
At St. Mary’s, the visitors dominated possession and chances from the opening whistle, but Southampton held them scoreless until the 45th minute, when Kevin de Bruyne got the ball to Haaland and the striker headed past goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.
Jack Grealish made it 2-0 for City in the 58th minute, knocking in the rebound after Bazunu stopped his initial effort.
Bazunu denied Bernardo Silva in the 67th, seconds before Haaland extended City’s lead with a well-executed overhead kick.
Late sub Sekou Mara pulled back a goal for the Saints in the 72nd minute, but World Cup winner Julian Alvarez reclaimed the three-goal advantage in the 75th, converting a penalty after Kyle Walker-Peters fouled De Bruyne.
Saturday’s contest in London between Tottenham and Brighton got off to a tense start after Stellini’s pre-match handshake with Seagulls manager Roberto De Zerbi turned into an argument.
Son Heung-min put Spurs ahead in the 10th minute with an assist from Ivan Perisic, becoming the first Asian player to score 100 goals in the Premier League.
Kaoru Mitoma answered for Brighton eight minutes later, but the goal was ruled out after VAR determined that the ball struck the attacking player’s arm before he kicked it.
Recently returned from injury, Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris made a pair of stops just seconds apart against Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo before Lewis Dunk brought the visitors level in the 34th minute, heading in a corner.
The Seagulls appeared to go ahead 10 minutes into the second half with a goal by Danny Welbeck, but VAR intervened again, spotting another offensive hand ball, and the score remained 1-1.
As the match approached the hour mark, a confrontation on the sideline between members of the opposing coaching staffs prompted the referee to issue red cards for Stellini and De Zerbi.
Brighton clamored for a penalty in the 71st minute after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg stepped on Mitoma’s foot inside the box, but the referee waved it off and VAR concurred.
The game was still deadlocked with 11 minutes left in regulation when Hojbjerg’s pass found Kane and the Tottenham and England captain beat Jason Steele to give the hosts the edge.
Spurs’ all-time leading scorer has scored six times in his last five matches and has 23 goals in the Premier League, second only to Haaland.