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Football

Manchester City reclaim top spot in England

Vincent Kompany scored his first goal of the season against Leicester City.
Vincent Kompany scored his first goal of the season against Leicester City. Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Veteran skipper Vincent Kompany unleashed a thunderbolt to send his Manchester City side to the verge of a second consecutive Premier League title as they beat Leicester City 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

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The 33-year-old Belgian, renowned for his aeriel prowess, advanced towards the Leicester City penalty area midway through the second half with the ball at his feet.

With opposition defenders backing off thinking he would pass, Kompany pulled back his right foot from 25 metres.

His connection was pure. The upshot – for the Manchester City faithful – sweet. The ball rifled into the top left hand corner of Kaspar Schmeichel's goal.

"I was saying to myself: 'Don't shoot Vinnie, don't shoot,'" admitted Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola after the game. "But he was smart and didn't follow my thoughts. It was an incredible goal.

"Football is mad for that. The artists are the players. They have to decide things in a fraction of a second and what's important isn't the goal, it's him shooting while believing he was going to score. He's a big believer and that helped us to win the game."

Belief

The 1-0 result allowed Manchester City to leapfrog Liverpool and reclaim top spot in the English Premier League with 95 points.

Liverpool, who have 94, play their final game of the season at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers while Manchester City travel to Brighton for their last game of an exhilarating campaign.

"I don't have to say anything," added Guardiola. "The players are mature. They know we have one game left. It will be tough in Brighton. We beat them in the FA Cup semi-final a few weeks ago. They are tough and they will be playing for pride. But it's in our hands. If we win we will have the title."

Monday night's triumph at the Etihad was Manchester City's 13 consecutive Premier League success. During the run they have eroded Liverpool's advantage.

When the sides met at the Etihad on 3 January, the Merseysiders were seven points ahead.

However a 2-1 victory for the hosts reduced the deficit to four points and Guardiola's men have since emerged with a wafer thin advantage.

Kompany said: "It was a big goal. We've not achieved anything. It was an important win against a very strong team."

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