Midfielders Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan struck late on as the hosts Manchester City maintained their title charge with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Aston Villa.
The City boys wasted a good number of chances amid a relentless downpour at the Etihad Stadium but finally broke through with Silva’s spectacular strike 11 minutes from time just outside the box with the Portuguese rattling a powerful left-foot drive into the top corner from the edge of the area to pierce Villa’s admirable resistance amidst the defense.
German Gundogan then wrapped up City’s sixth successive Premier League win from the spot in the final minute after a handball by Matty Cash.
In a nutshell City staged up 28 goal attempts and they had numerous other openings on a night when they missed having a striker for most of the game.
Despite the loss Villa deserved huge credit for acquitting themselves well on their return to action after weeks of rest since their FA Cup tie in which they fielded a youthful side against Liverpool. This was their first game since New Year’s Day following a Covid-19 outbreak at the club which saw the postponement of their matches since then.
They contributed to an entertaining game and had the occasional chance themselves, but it was a tale of their defence versus City’s attack and Pep Guardiola’s men ultimately prevailed.
Guardiola’s boys were without self-isolating striker Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, who recently had a spell out with coronavirus himself, but was back on the bench.