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Haaland nets 4 goals as Man City rout Wolves 5-1

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MANCHESTER, May 5: Erling Haaland scored four goals — including a first-half hat trick — as Manchester City crushed Wolverhampton 5-1 to retain control of the Premier League title race on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s team needed to respond to first-place Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Bournemouth earlier in the day and did so emphatically with another big haul from Haaland.
The Norway striker struck twice from the penalty spot in the first half, either side of a towering header, before adding a fourth with a curling strike.
Substitute Julian Alvarez also got on the scoresheet, while Wolves’ consolation came from Hwang Hee-chan.
The victory lifted City, which is chasing an unprecedented fourth straight league crown, back within a point of the Gunners. City has three games left, while Arsenal has two.
Haaland’s outstanding display took his tally for the campaign to 36 in all competitions and lifted him to 25 — five clear of his nearest challengers — in the race for the Premier League’s Golden Boot award. His hat trick was his ninth in City colours.
City’s determination was clear from the outset and it came as no surprise that the hosts soon took the lead, although there was debate over the first penalty after 12 minutes.
Josko Gvardiol was shaping to shoot as Rayan Ait-Nouri attempted to clear and the pair collided. The decision could have gone either way but referee Craig Pawson awarded the spot kick and Haaland confidently tucked it away.
The inevitable second came in the 35th minute as Rodri won possession, continued his run and exchanged passes with Kevin De Bruyne before lofting a cross to the back post, where Haaland rose magnificently to head past Jose Sa.
The Norwegian completed his treble in first-half stoppage time with a second penalty after he was brought down by Nelson Semedo.
Wolves offered little before the break but pulled one back against the run of play after 53 minutes.
City keeper Ederson Moraes, who overcame a shoulder injury to start, palmed a cross from Jean-Ricner Bellegarde into the path of Hwang and the South Korean turned the ball into the net.
Yet any hopes Wolves might have had for a fightback were dispelled immediately and resoundingly by Haaland. The forward latched onto a long ball from Foden and cut inside to blast a ferocious shot into the far corner from just inside the area.
Haaland almost had a fifth moments later as he forced a fine save from Sa but, after also denying Mateo Kovavic, the goalkeeper was beaten again by Alvarez five minutes from time.
Villa lose to Brighton
A bad week for Aston Villa got worse on Sunday after a surprise 1-0 loss at Brighton in the race for the top four in the Premier League.
Unai Emery’s team lost 4-2 at home to Olympiakos in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semifinal on Thursday. And on a day when Villa could have secured its place in next season’s Champions League, it suffered another setback.
Joao Pedro’s 87th-minute goal at the Amex Stadium gave hope to fifth-place Tottenham in its pursuit of Villa in fourth.
Chelsea rout West Ham
Chelsea’s troubled season could still end on something of a high after Mauricio Pochettino’s team boosted its chances of European football next season with a 5-0 rout of West Ham on Sunday.
The win at Stamford Bridge moved Chelsea up to seventh in the standings and two points behind sixth-place Newcastle. (AP)

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