Man City edge Newcastle in Premier League thriller thanks to sensational Ferran Torres hat-trick

Newcastle 3-4 Man City: Newly-crowned champions were forced to work hard to win their first game since sealing the title

Damian Spellman
Friday 14 May 2021 22:52
comments
Ferran Torres scores for Manchester City with a volleyed back heel
Ferran Torres scores for Manchester City with a volleyed back heel

Ferran Torres netted an impressive hat-trick on Friday night as newly-crowned Premier League champions Manchester City twice came from behind to edge a seven-goal thriller at Newcastle United.

Pep Guardiola made numerous changes to his line-up in anticipation of City’s Champions League final against Chelsea later this month, and his players trailed 1-0 to Emil Krafth’s header – the defender’s first Newcastle goal – after 25 minutes.

A deflected Joao Cancelo strike 15 minutes later saw City draw level, before a sensational back-heeled volley from Torres shortly thereafter gave City the lead.

Steve Bruce’s hosts headed into half-time with the scoreline 2-2, however, with Joelinton converting from the penalty spot in added time after being fouled by Nathan Ake.

Just after the hour mark, City conceded another penalty as Kyle Walker fouled Arsenal loanee Joe Willock, who missed his spot-kick but scored his follow-up.

Two minutes later, Torres stabbed home a finish from close range, and another two minutes later the Spanish winger netted with an acrobatic rebound after Cancelo hit the post from range.

Guardiola’s men sit 13 points clear at the top of the table as a result, but Newcastle, who secured their top-flight status last weekend – helping head coach Steve Bruce claim the Manager of the Month award for April – made life distinctly uncomfortable for them at times.

Guardiola sprang something of a surprise ahead of kick-off when he handed 35-year-old loan goalkeeper Scott Carson a debut for the club and a first Premier League appearance in almost 10 years, but he saw little action early on as the visitors dominated both possession and territory, although without threatening.

Gabriel Jesus volleyed just wide after Federico Fernandez and Paul Dummett got into a muddle under an eighth-minute high ball, and Torres stabbed an attempt past the post after Ilkay Gundogan and Cancelo had linked superbly down the left five minutes later.

With Gundogan, Rodri and Bernardo Silva conducting affair from the middle of the field, the Magpies were penned back deep inside their own half for extended periods, although it was they who took the lead with 25 minutes gone after Walker had blocked Joelinton’s shot out for a corner.

Jonjo Shelvey sent the set-piece to the far post where Krafth rose to power a header past the helpless Carson.

The keeper needed the help of the crossbar to spare his side further damage 10 minutes later after Shelvey’s free-kick had cleared both the defensive wall and his out-stretched hand, and Newcastle’s fortunes took a significant turn for the worse before the break.

First keeper Martin Dubravka was wrong-footed as Cancelo’s driven 39th-minute shot clipped Jacob Murphy’s heels and flew across him and inside the far post, and he could only look on in horror once again three minutes later when Torres dispatched a Gundogan free-kick with his imperious flick.

But it was Carson who was picking the ball out of his net for a second time deep into first-half stoppage time when – after a lengthy VAR check – referee Kevin Friend awarded a penalty for Ake’s clumsy challenge on Joelinton and the Brazilian smashed the spot-kick home to level.

The visitors continued to enjoy the great share of the ball after the break but were repeatedly let down by an uncharacteristic imprecision and it was Newcastle who created the more promising openings.

However, in a madcap four minutes, City fell behind and then surged ahead when, after Willock had netted the rebound after his 62nd-minute penalty miss, having been tripped by Walker, Torres levelled from Jesus’ cross and then completed his treble, following up as Cancelo’s shot came back of the post.

The champions appeared to decide the best way to prevent an equaliser was to simply not allow their opponents the ball while attempting to fashion a fifth goal, and in the event, they saw out time comfortably.

The result marked a 12th consecutive away win for City in the Premier League – a new competition record.

PA

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments