Man City fightback to return to Premier League top four

Sports Desk, Dec 28 (EFE)- Manchester City ensured the Club World Cup title win in Saudi Arabia last week did not distract them, as they produced a stirring fightback in the second half to beat Everton 1-3 in the English Premier League on Wednesday.

Goals from Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez, and Bernardo Silva took the defending champions within five points of leaders Liverpool and brought them back into the top four again, making sure that Jack Harrison’s first-half strike for Everton did not cause any damage.

Noni Madueke scored a late winner from the penalty spot, earning a 2-1 win for Chelsea against Crystal Palace, while Wolverhampton Wanderers hammered Brentford 4-1 in the other matches of the evening.

Pep Guardiola’s team were in trouble at Goodison Park after Rodri gave the ball away in their own box in 29 minutes, allowing Dwight McNeil to pick up the ball and produce a cross for Harrison, who steered the ball home.

The holders bounced back in the second half, first thanks to Foden, who leveled on 53 minutes with a superb long-range strike.

Alvarez turned the game around by converting a 64th-minute penalty after Amadou Onana had handled a Nathan Ake shot in the box.

Bernardo sealed the win by curling home a brilliant effort from outside the box three minutes from time after Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had made a hash of an attempted clearance.

“It was a massive win for us after where we came back from Saudi Arabia as world champions,” Guardiola was quoted as saying on the City website.

“We were really pleased with how we reacted and it proved again how special this group of players is and the mentality that we have in our bones,” he said.

An 89th-minute penalty from Madueke lifted the spirits of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their final game at home in 2023, a year marked mostly by disasters for the side.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side broke the deadlock early in the first half when Ukrainian Mykhailo Mudryk swept home a pass from Malo Gusto.

Michael Olise converted from close range for Palace to leave the tie 1-1 at halftime, giving Chelsea a sense of déjà vu.

The Bules’ push for victory was rewarded in the final minutes when Madueke was felled in the penalty area by Olise, and, after a VAR review, the winger confidently converted the penalty to seal a much-needed three points.

“We didn’t start well; we were a little bit nervous and struggled because we were thinking too much about a game we really needed to win,” Pochettino quoted in Chelsea website.

“We created chances to score, we scored, but I wasn’t so happy we conceded in the last minute.

“The second half we started well again, played a bit more, and I’m so happy the players from the bench had such a good impact.”

The win left Chelsea in 10th place with 25 points, ahead of Wolverhampton on goal difference.

The Wolves recorded their first back-to-back win in the Premier League season at Brentford, as Hwang Hee-chan scored a brace and his substitute Jeanricner Bellegarde scored one after Mario Lemina’s early strike was canceled out by Yoane Wissa.


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