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Mane cracks Norwich resistance as Liverpool go 25 points clear

Mane cracks Norwich resistance as Liverpool go 25 points clear
Sadio Mané (right) makes the vital breakthrough for Liverpool at Norwich.
NORWICH, FEB 16 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 2/16/2020 9:57:29 AM IST

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane marked his return from injury with a late goal to break Norwich City’s resistance and secure a 1-0 win on Saturday to extend his side’s Premier League lead to 25 points.

On a windy evening, bottom club Norwich were proving a tough nut to crack for Juergen Klopp’s team but Senegalese forward Mane, who came on as a substitute on the hour, pounced to drill home a fine finish from inside the area in the 78th minute. It was his first appearance since going off injured in Liverpool’s win at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Jan. 23 and he marked it by claiming a 100th goal in English football.

A battling Norwich had defended resolutely and twice came close to taking the lead, but Liverpool’s relentless romp towards a first English title for 30 years continued.

Victory was their 34th in their last 35 league games and their 17th in succession, one shy of Manchester City’s record.

They have scored in 35 successive Premier League games, are unbeaten in their last 43 and have conceded only once in their last 11 league games.

Fifteen more points will guarantee them the title as they have collected 76 points out of a possible 78, now 25 ahead of Manchester City, who have played a game less. “It was a difficult game for different reasons,” Klopp said. “The wind, the organisation of the opponent and the way we played in the first half made it tricky for us.

“Sadio was fresh and made the difference.”

Norwich, for whom Alexander Tettey struck the woodwork in the second half, remain seven points adrift of 17th-placed Aston Villa who host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. They battled until the end, however, and Teemu Pukki fired straight at Alisson in the 89th minute after a flowing move.

“It was moment of magic from Mane to win the game,” Norwich boss Daniel Farke said. “We were pretty close to coming away with a good result. The lads left their hearts on the pitch.” With the title virtually assured, Liverpool turn their attention to their defence of the Champions League on Tuesday when they visit Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium, scene of their triumph in the final last season.

Son double sinks Villa 

to send Spurs fifth

Son Heung-min struck a stoppage time winner, after a dreadful error from Bjorn Engels, as Tottenham Hotspur won 3-2 at Aston Villa to move up to fifth in the Premier League. In an enthralling match, Villa went ahead in the ninth minute when Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld turned an Anwar El Ghazi’s cross into his own net. But the Belgian centre-half made amends for that area when he fired Tottenham back on to level terms with a superb shot on the turn from inside the box. VAR intervened to award the visitors a penalty after reviewing a challenge on Steven Bergwijn by Villa defender Engels and ruling that he had brought down the Spurs forward.

Son’s weak penalty, after a stuttering approach run, was saved by Pepe Reina but the South Korean was the quickest to react as he bundled home the loose ball to send Spurs in ahead at the break. Then it was the turn of Engels to cancel out his earlier error - the Belgian rising to meet a Jack Grealish corner and power in a header to make it 2-2. But Engels was to end the game in despair as he mis-kicked a long ball forward and allowed Son to race clear and fire past Reina to take the three points.

 

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