A spectacular long-range goal from veteran defender Vincent Kompany — about the unlikeliest of possible scorers — gave Manchester City a pivotal 1-0 win over plucky Leicester on Monday, putting City back atop the Premier League ahead of Liverpool heading into the season’s final week.
For much of the contest, luck was not in the home team’s corner. Then Kompany broke forward in the 70th minute and blasted an unstoppable shot past Foxes’ keeper Kasper Schmeichel:
The Prem lead has now changed hands 31 times this campaign. This might be the last; City would successfully defend its crown for the first time in club history with all three points at Brighton on Sunday, the final match day of the 2018-19 campaign.
Meanwhile, Liverpool would have to beat Wolves at home and also have the Sky Blues drop points in their finale in order to secure a first English championship in 30 years. For much of Monday’s contest, though, it looked like the Reds might just get to play for its first title since 1989.
After a cagey opening 20-odd minutes at City of Manchester Stadium, the hosts all-world lineup started to take over the match. But the visitors, shock title winners themselves three years ago, proved more than up for a street fight.
Leicester defended superbly, surviving each of City’s 11 attempts on Schmeichel’s goal in the first period. They also got a little lucky. For a second it even appeared that Sergio Aguero had put the home side ahead in the 33rd minute. Yet the signal from referee Mike Dean never came. Sure enough, replays confirmed that Schmeichel reached back and somehow clawed the ball off the line just before it entered the goal:
The pressure began to mount on Pep Guardiola’s side as the teams headed to the dressing rooms scoreless. That tension only increased in the second half, as City desperately sent bodies forward in an effort to get the goal they needed.
But when Schmeichel stopped another golden opportunity from Aguero, it was fair to wonder if maybe this just wasn’t Manchester City’s night. Then the 33-year-old Kompany came to the rescue.
City is sitting pretty now. Not only does a win on Sunday seal them the trophy for a second year running, Liverpool faces the added challenge of taking on Lionel Messi and Barcelona on Tuesday in the second leg of the Champions League semifinal. And they’ll do it without their best player Mohamed Salah, who could also miss the last match against Wolves.
After Monday’s triumph, though, you can be sure that City will do everything possible to ensure that how Liverpool fares doesn’t matter either way.
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