Manchester City on Tuesday equaled their club record of 28 games unbeaten, hammering Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-1 to open up a gaping 15-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.
Pep Guardiola shuffled his pack at the Etihad Stadium against the team who did the league double against them last season as he maintained his club’s assault on an unprecedented quadruple.
The champions-elect were made to sweat after Conor Coady canceled out an early own-goal from Leander Dendoncker, but two late goals from Gabriel Jesus and a Riyad Mahrez strike sealed the three points.
City’s 28-match unbeaten run in all competitions equals their run from April to December 2017, and they are red-hot favorites to wrap up a third Premier League title in four years.
The victory was their 21st in a row and their 15th straight Premier League win.
City have not trailed for a single minute in any of their past 19 Premier League games — equaling Arsenal’s record set in 1998-1999.
Guardiola hailed his “fantastic team,” but said his only focus was on the next game, against cross-town rivals Manchester United, who are City’s nearest challengers.
“After 1-1 we suffered, but we created lots of chances in the end,” Guardiola told BT Sport. “Manchester United. That’s all we care [about now]. The champions is Liverpool, the crown belongs to them. We are in the best position right now to take them out and we are going to try, but they are the champions.”
The home side toyed with the visitors from the opening whistle, hogging possession as Wolves struggled to gain a foothold.
City’s dominance was rewarded when Dendoncker could only steer the ball into his own net in the 15th minute.
Mahrez made an incisive run down the right, getting behind the City defense and was brilliantly picked out by midfielder Rodri.
The Algeria international whipped the ball across the face of goal and Dendoncker, with Raheem Sterling hovering menacingly behind him, inadvertently found the net.
Aymeric Laporte had an effort ruled out for offside, while Bernardo Silva blazed over after Rui Patricio saved smartly from his header on the stroke of halftime.
Incredibly, Wolves were level just after the hour mark when Coady headed in Joao Moutinho’s free-kick that was clipped into the box.
City increased the pressure and reclaimed the lead with 10 minutes remaining.
Wolves failed to cut out a Kyle Walker cross and Jesus turned to smash home from close range.
Mahrez tucked home their third in the 90th minute to put the result beyond doubt and Jesus claimed a fourth with the final kick of the game.
AP and AFP, GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany
Schalke 04 on Tuesday hired the relatively unknown Dimitrios Grammozis as their fifth coach of the season.
The 42-year-old Grammozis — a former midfielder with 143 Bundesliga appearances for Hamburg SV, Kaiserslautern and Cologne — signed a contract through June next year, the Gelsenkirchen-based club said in a statement.
“We are convinced that we have found the right coach in Dimitrios Grammozis for the last third of the season,” Peter Knabel said in his new role as sporting director.
The club fired Knabel’s predecessor, Jochen Schneider, in a purge of senior club staff on Sunday.
In the DFB-Pokal, England winger Jadon Sancho hit the winning goal as Borussia Dortmund marched into the semi-finals with a 1-0 win against Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Tuesday’s other quarter-final was postponed as second-tier club SSV Jahn Regensburg went into quarantine after a COVID-19 outbreak before their home tie against Werder Bremen.
AFP, MILAN, Italy
Juventus on Tuesday gave their hopes of a 10th straight Serie A title a timely boost as they beat struggling Spezia 3-0 to move within seven points of league leaders Inter.
Andrea Pirlo’s side were frustrated for long periods, but goals from Alvaro Morata, Federico Chiesa and Cristiano Ronaldo clinched an important win.
Juve sit three points behind AC Milan in second, with Inter four points further clear.
Quarantined in Turin, Torino failed to travel to Rome for their game with SS Lazio, with the hosts awarded victory after a 45-minute wait.
Italian Football Federation president Gabriele Gravina had earlier called on league authorities to clarify the situation.
“This is an act of God, there’s no way they [Torino] can play, and the league needs to get their ideas straight,” Gravina said. “Imagine if a team decides to go ahead and break their quarantine order, it would be breaking the law.”
TAKE TWO: Tainan TSG are the favorites going into this season, which starts on Sunday. They have fearsome forwards and national ’keeper Pan Wen-chieh between the posts Defending champions Tainan TSG (Taiwan Steel Group) face a tough challenge from their southern neighbors Taipower and CPC FC when the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) season starts this weekend with four matches on Sunday. Promoting grassroots soccer, and organizing relegation and promotion between the top and second divisions last year was important for the progression of Taiwanese soccer, CTFA chairman Chiou I-jen told a news conference in Taipei yesterday. “We are going in the right direction ... and becoming more competitive” for international competitions, Chiou said. Still the favorites, Tainan TSG have the league’s most fearsome forwards, with three international star players.
INSULT: Valencia’s Mouctar Diakhaby was involved in a heated exchange with Cadiz’s Juan Cala before indicating to the referee that he was leaving the pitch Valencia’s players on Sunday walked off during their La Liga game with Cadiz in protest against racist abuse, with coach Javi Gracia later claiming they were told they would be punished if they refused to resume the match. The fixture was stopped in the 37th minute after Valencia said their player Mouctar Diakhaby was the victim of a racial insult. Diakhaby had been involved in a heated exchange with Cadiz’s Juan Cala before indicating to the referee David Medie Jimenez that he was leaving the pitch. The Frenchman’s teammates followed him off and Cadiz also went down the tunnel soon after. About 15
Nine-year-old Thai kickboxer Pornpattara “Tata” Peachaurai is eager to get back in the ring after COVID-19 curbs brought his fight season to a halt more than five months ago. The money he earns is vital income for his family. “All the money from boxing, the regular payment and the tips, it all goes to mum,” the lean young fighter said. “I’m proud to be a boxer and to earn money for my mum.” Tata’s last fight was in October last year, before a second COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand shut down sports events as bans on large gatherings were reimposed. “I cannot box. I
After several humbling losses to the West Division leaders, the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday sent quite the message to the Colorado Avalanche in their last of eight regular-season matchups. Eight was more than enough for the Wild to slow the Avalanche. Kevin Fiala notched his first career hat-trick, while Kirill Kaprizov had two of Minnesota’s three power-play goals as the sharp-shooting Wild beat Colorado 8-3 to hand the Avalanche their first regulation loss in 16 games. “We can play against you guys,” Fiala said. “If we’re going to meet them in the playoffs.” Luke Johnson, Ryan Hartman and Joel Eriksson Ek also scored as