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Considering that a trip to Goodison Park in the middle of a Champions League semifinal was seen as an unpleasant task for Manchester City in the hunt for the treble. The thought and Everton were dismissed with almost contemptuous ease as another flawless performance from Ilkay Guendogan and another goal from Erling Haaland brought Pep Guardiola’s team closer to a third consecutive Premier League title.

Guendogan showed why City need to secure his services beyond the summer when his contract expires with two goals following his brace against Leeds last weekend. The midfielder’s first goal was a brilliant move that took the air out of Everton’s fight against relegation. He then set up Haaland’s 52nd goal of the season and capped his outstanding performance with a superb free-kick goal from Jordan Pickford.

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Guardiola’s biggest problem was the timing of the game, which was moved because of Eurovision, with Real Madrid visiting the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, although he was also unimpressed by Yerry Mina’s antics. The City manager made his grievance clear to the Everton defender after the final whistle.

Sean Dyche’s side suffered their 10th home defeat of the season, setting a new club record. Nevertheless, the team was celebrated after the final whistle by supporters who recognised both the difference in quality and the importance of the trip to Wolves next week in the fight against relegation. Should Dominic Calvert-Lewin miss out with groyne problems that forced Dyche to take his only good striker out of the game at half-time, Everton’s chances of survival will drop precipitously. “It would have been harder at 0-0 than 2-0,” said the Everton coach. “Dom wanted to try it, but I said no”

It was a tight, tense game before Guendogan snatched it away from Everton in the blink of an eye. City had plenty of possession, as usual, but Dyche’s side kept the league leaders at bay with the same defensive commitment and well-worked counter-attacks they used to take down Brighton on Monday. Haaland barely got a move on in the first half, such was Everton’s early success against Guardiola’s side. And when he did, the ball was in the Everton net, so strong is the phenomenal striker.

Guardiola made four changes compared to the Champions League semifinal first leg against Real to be ready for the second leg. Dyche was forced to make just one change from the Brighton win, with Mason Holgate coming in at left-back for the injured Vitalii Mykolenko, and the right-footed, error-prone defender endured a desperate afternoon. Holgate nearly put Haaland in the game with a sloppy back pass in the opening minutes and needed constant support from Dwight McNeil in his battle with Riyad Mahrez. It was an unsuccessful battle. Holgate’s distribution was poor throughout, and the home crowd cheered loudly when his plight was highlighted in the 55th minute.

It took two lightning-quick interventions from Kyle Walker to prevent Abdoulaye Doucour√© breaking through from an Alex Iwobi pass and releasing James Garner Calvert-Lewin inside the box. Walker’s second attempt resulted in a corner kick for Everton, which James Tarkowski headed back across goal to Holgate. The defender was at the back post two yards from goal and missed the great chance.

By Voburst

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