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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Toure brace puts City within touching distance of league title

AP

LONDON — Manchester City is within sight of its first English championship since 1968 after Yaya Toure scored twice to give the Premier League leader a 2-0 win at Newcastle on Sunday.

News photo
Almost there: Manchester City's Yaya Toure celebrates after scoring his side's second goal against Newcastle on Sunday. City won 2-0. AFP-JIJI

Although defending champion Manchester United stayed level on points with its local rival with a 2-0 victory over Swansea, City's superior goal difference means that it will almost certainly win the title if it beats struggling Queens Park Rangers in its final match next weekend.

United, which won through goals by Paul Scholes and Ashley Young, is at Sunderland in the final round next Sunday.

"It's not finished," Toure said. "We have one game left and we have to be careful as QPR are fighting to stay in the Premier League. We have to continue to work hard and believe.

"This is brilliant for us, though."

Tottenham kept fourth place from Newcastle with a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa, while Clint Dempsey scored his 50th Premier League goal to help Fulham to a 2-1 win over Sunderland.

Djibril Cisse scored in the 89th to give QPR a 1-0 win over Stoke and move his side two points clear of the relegation zone, while Bolton missed the chance to climb out of the bottom three when it let slip a 2-0 lead and drew 2-2 with West Bromwich Albion.

Relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers drew 0-0 with Everton in the other match.

With both City and Newcastle needing victory — one for the title chase and one for its top-four challenge — there were chances at each end before Toure's goals.

City goalkeeper Joe Hart made a reflex save from Hatem Ben Arfa's fierce volley in the 34th after Demba Ba's shot had been blocked. Seven minutes later, Gareth Barry's low drive was blocked by defender Fabricio Coloccini and his rebound effort was stopped on the line by Davide Santon.

Barry then tried a third shot but Newcastle and goalkeeper Tim Krul managed to clear.

Toure made the breakthrough in the 70th, exchanging passes with Sergio Aguero on the edge of the area and placing a curling right-foot shot past the diving Krul.

The Cote d'Ivoire midfielder then missed a clear opening — slipping as he tried to take the ball around Krul — before making it 2-0 as City exploited space left by the home side's search for an equalizer.

Scholes put United ahead in the 28th when the veteran midfielder, who rescinded his retirement midway through the season, redirected Michael Carrick's shot with a quick flick of the boot.

Young made it 2-0 13 minutes later with a low, curling shot between two defenders and around the goalkeeper into the far corner.

But the avalanche of goals United needed to eat away at City's advantage never came.

City will go into the final round eight goals ahead of United.

Juve crowned champions

AP

MILAN, Italy — Juventus won its 28th Serie A title and first in nine years after defeating Cagliari 2-0 to stay unbeaten and second-place AC Milan lost 4-2 to Inter Milan in the next-to-last round of the season on Sunday.

It is Juventus' first league championship since 2003, with its two titles since then being revoked because of match-fixing. The team is four points ahead of Milan.

"It is a fantastic sensation," Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. "We are really happy, the lads deserved it and it's an honor to win it. Milan was a very strong adversary. I realized in the run-in that my team still had energy, while they were a bit tired. To finish the league unbeaten would be something historic."

Conte refused to be drawn on whether it should be considered Juve's 30th title, saying: "It's the first for me. It's the first that I've won as a coach."



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