Manchester City moved to within touching distance of a first English league title in 44 years after Yaya Toure scored twice in a 2-0 win at Newcastle on Sunday.
Victory left leaders City in front of reigning Premier League champions Manchester United, who beat Swansea 2-0 later on Sunday, on goal difference with just one round of fixtures remaining.
If City, who have a goal difference advantage of plus eight over United, beat Queens Park Rangers at Eastlands a week on Sunday that should be enough to take the title as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side would need to thrash Sunderland at the Stadium of Light to have a chance of retaining their crown.
At St James’ Park, Ivory Coast midfielder Toure opened the scoring for City in the 70th minute when he struck a curling shot from the edge of the box that beat Newcastle keeper Tim Krul. City, last crowned champions of England in 1968, wasted several chances before Toure finished off a counter-attack a minute from full-time.
However, Toure warned there was still work to be done. “It’s not finished,” he told Sky Sports.
City manager Roberto Mancini, whose side were eight points behind United just a few weeks ago, added: “I hope (this is enough) but I think that it is not.” Defeat left Newcastle in fifth place — just outside the top four spot they need to have a chance of Champions League qualification.”
Before kick-off at Old Trafford, United manager Ferguson said City had “probably two” hands on the Premier League trophy.
But Paul Scholes — brought out of retirement earlier this season — still gave United a 28th minute lead after turning in a shot from fellow midfielder Michael Carrick. And four minutes before the break, United had a second when Ashley Young’s low strike beat Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm.
Elsewhere, 10-man Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa, who edged nearer top-flight survival. At the bottom of the table, QPR moved two points clear of the relegation zone after Djibril Cisse’s 89th minute winner secured a 1-0 win at home to Stoke. Bolton remained in the bottom three after a 2-2 draw with West Brom. Fulham beat mid-table rivals Sunderland 2-1 at Craven Cottage.
Already relegated Wolves were held to a goalless draw at home to Everton. Second bottom Blackburn play Wigan, not yet out of danger, on Monday, while Tuesday sees a repeat of the FA Cup final when Chelsea are away to Liverpool.