Football

Manchester City confirm place in group stages of next season's Champions League

Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Manchester City won a see-saw battle with Swansea City on Sunday afternoon to guarantee a slot in the group stages of next season's Uefa Champions League. Arsenal helped their chances of securing the other automatic spot for the competition's pool games from the Premier League following a 1-1 draw against Manchester United.

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Manchester City salavaged their season on Sunday afternoon by securing a place in the group stages of next season's Uefa Champions League with a 4-2 win at Swansea City.

With one game remaining, City are second in the Premier League on 76 points behind the champions Chelsea.

Following Arsenal's 1-1 draw at Manchester United on Sunday afternoon, City will finish second or third - the berths which grant immediate access to the group stages. Fourth place in England leads to the qualifying rounds of the Champions League.

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Gaining a direct path to the Champions League was the minimum requirement for Manuel Pellegrini's players after conceding their Premier League title to Chelsea two weeks ago.

City have rebounded from that disappointment to claim victories over Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers and Swansea City.

Pellegrini said after the match at the Liberty Stadium: "We needed to win to ensure we were in Europe. It was an open game. We conceded two easy goals but I am happy with the performance against a good team."

The defeat means Swansea will finish the season in a eighth place, far higher than many pundits and commentators believed possible at the start of Garry Monk's first full season in charge.

"I am disappointed with the result but once again the players' character and commitment was there to see," said Monk.  "I thought we could have got something out of the game but it wasn't to be."

Swansea had fought back from 2-0 down thanks to goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Bafetimbi Gomis.

But Yaya Touré's second goal of the game made it 3-2 after 74 minutes and Swansea old boy Wilfried Bony struck the fourth in stoppage time.

After Chelsea won the championship with a 1-0 success over Crystal Palace on 3 May, the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, exhorted his squad to end the camapign strongly and seal second place.

The Frenchman's call came during an unbeaten streak in which Arsenal had surged into contention for the title on the back of eight straight wins.

That winning sequence was halted when Chelsea drew 0-0 at the Emirates on 26 April. A 3-1 victory win over Hull City on 4 May was followed by a 1-0 loss at home on 11 May to Swansea City.

Sunday afternoon's point at Old Trafford - courtesy of a Tyler Blackett own goal after Ander Herrera had given the hosts the lead - will alllow the north Londoners to take third place with a win over relegation threatened Sunderland on 20 May at the Emirates.

 

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