Hernandez, Gundogan, Mahrez give Man City 3-1 win over Aston Villa
London, Feb 12 (EFE).- In one of the most complicated weeks of its recent history, given the sanctions and financial irregularities swirling through the air, Manchester City drubbed Aston Villa 3-1 at home on Sunday, thus responding to the accusations made against the club by the Premier League.
On goals by Rodrigo Hernandez, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez, the Manchester squad notched its first win since the accusations came to light and City was charged with more than 100 breaches of Premier League financial rules.
It was a triumph that followed derogatory whistling by the home crowd at Etihad Stadium when the league anthem was played, and there was no doubt on which side of the matter the Sky Blues’ fans had come down.
An independent commission is evaluating whether City is guilty of the assorted charges, and – if so – they face exclusion from the top echelons, although the team has asserted that “irrefutable evidence” evidence exists to prove their innocence.
Manager Pep Guardiola said Friday that “I am fully convinced that we will be (found) innocent.”
The win over Aston Villa enabled City to move within three points of league leaders Arsenal, after the top Premier League club battled to a 1-1 draw with Brentford on Saturday.
It was Rodri who opened the scoring for the hosts, heading the ball into the twine in minute 4 after a cross from Mahrez following a corner kick.
City kept the pressure on and in the 39th minute Erling Haaland snatched the ball amid an error between Villa netminder Emiliano Martinez and defender Calum Chambers, sending a nice pass to Ilkay Gundogan, who couldn’t miss with an empty net before him.
In first half stoppage time, Villa midfielder Jacob Ramsey fouled City’s Jack Grealish in the box, whereupon Mahrez made it 3-0.
After the break, the visitors’ Ollie Watkins sank one for the visitors in the 61st minute, easily and deftly sending the ball into the lower right corner for his third goal in three matches, but it was not to be the start of a comeback and there the score remained until the final whistle brought the curtain down.
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Dias (Akanji, m.46), Laporte; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Silva; Mahrez (Ake, m.85), Grealish (Foden, m.69) and Haaland (Alvarez, m.46).
Aston Villa: Martinez; Digne (Moreno, m.61), Chambers, Konsa, Young (Coutinho, m.76); Buendia (McGinn, m.61), Luiz, Kamara, Ramsey (Cash, m.76); Watkins and Bailey (Durán, m.61).