London, May 1 (IANS) Manchester City could be crowned Premier League champions by the end of this weekend after Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres secured a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.
Aguero, City’s all-time record goalscorer, will leave the Etihad Stadium when his contract expires next month and has endured a campaign ruined by fitness issues. But the Argentina striker relocated some of the old magic with a sublime touch and thumping finish to find a 57th-minute breakthrough and his second league goal of the campaign, reports DPA.
There were just 83 seconds between Aguero’s opener and Torres’s calmly taken second, and City will win the title for a third time in four seasons if Liverpool beat second-placed Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Palace full-back Tyrick Mitchell made an important block when Torres met Benjamin Mendy’s ninth-minute cross on the volley.
Raheem Sterling darted onto Aymeric Laporte’s lofted pass and inside a couple of Palace challenges, but Mitchell was able to get back for another vital intervention.
Christian Benteke had a chance to breakthrough before the half hour — the Belgian striker’s shot on the turn smothered at close quarters by Ederson.
As their phalanx of playmakers rested up on the bench, City struggled for their usual fluency. Gabriel Jesus volleyed home Fernandinho’s 36th-minute cross but had strayed needlessly offside.
With attempted intricacy failing, Aguero opted for something more uncomplicated — in terms of conception rather than execution — when he controlled Mendy’s low cross then thumped a half-volley past the helpless Vicente Guaita.
City’s four-pronged attack went for the kill and Aguero was involved once more in a swarming attack as Torres picked out the bottom left corner from the edge of the area.
As in their 2-1 Champions League semi-final first-leg win at Paris Saint-Germain, City were a team transformed after the break. Sterling thumped Jesus’s pass against the base of the post and Benteke made the last-ditch block to prevent last weekend’s EFL Cup final hero Laporte from adding to his tally.
Joao Cancelo thundered just over from a Torres backheel and Sterling curled agonisingly wide as Guardiola’s men swaggered towards full-time and overall glory.