After failing to secure a win in their past four games in the Premier League, Manchester City cruised to a comfortable victory over Hull City on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.
The win boosts their hopes of finishing top four, as they pursue a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Hull’s Ahmed Elmohamady scored an own goal to put the home side ahead on the half hour mark as the Hull defender turned in Jesus Navas’ dangerous low cross. Raheem Sterling’s jinking run then set up Sergio Aguero and the Argentine’s powerful effort squeezed past Eldin Jakupovic in 48 minutes.
The Hull goalkeeper had no chance from the third goal, with Fabian Delph allowed time and space to lash in from outside the box minutes after the hour-mark. As a consolation, however, Andrea Ranocchia pulled one back late on to make the scoreline 3-1.
“We needed a win today, we have dropped too many points and it was back to winning ways,” City winger Raheem Sterling said after the win.
And with the Champions League qualification now Pep Guardiola’s focus, the Spaniard was relieved with their first win in five league matches.
“It was important for us to win after many days without a win. We started well and created chances and we had the right attitude,” he said after the win. “We could have scored many more goals. It is frustrating not go get a clean sheet but we defended poorly at set-pieces.”
Elsewhere, Liverpool came from behind to beat Stoke City 2-1, as they stay on course for a top-four finish.
Unmarked Jon Walters headed the hosts into the lead after meeting Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross, as the Reds failed to register a first-half effort on target.
But goals by substitutes Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino in the 70th and 72nd minutes helped the visitors grab the entire three points from the game. Coutinho levelled with a first-time shot before Firmino smashed the bouncing ball beyond keeper Lee Grant after Georginio Wijnaldum’s pass.
Liverpool remain third in the Premier League table, and the Reds’ coach Jurgen Klopp felt good about it.
“Job done, feels good. Nice weather, 63 points and I couldn’t feel any better. Now we have a long week. No team in the world wins only the very, very good games. You need to win games like this,” he said.
“Second half was really good but we played a big gamble on a low battery bringing on Firmino and Coutinho. The first half was not the players, it was the way we play football. It was obvious that Stoke were better tuned but they didn’t create a lot of chances, other than the goal.”
In the other Premier League games, Southampton edged past West Brom 1-0, Middlesbrough were held to a goalless draw by visiting Burnley, while West Ham pipped Swansea 1-0.
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