BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) – Manchester City moved closer to the Premier League title after capping a turbulent week with a 2-1 win at Aston Villa on Wednesday. The leaders, who had John Stones sent off in the first half, jumped 11 and needed eight points from five games to reclaim the trophy from Liverpool after goals from the exceptional Phil Foden and Rodri turned the game at Villa Park.
John McGinn’s opener after 20 seconds stunned the visitors, but they recovered to win after their unfortunate entry and quick withdrawal from the controversialthis week.
They held on after Stones was sent off for a late challenge on Jacob Ramsey, ruling theagainst Tottenham at Wembley. Matty Cash was also red-carded after two quickfire in the second half for fouls on Foden to ease any fears of a Villa comeback.
Villa remains in 11th place, with its European hopes slipping away.
The City was caught cold in the first minute by Tyrone Mings’ long ball forward, which a stretching Stones failed to cut out. It fell to Ollie Watkins, and the striker crossed for McGinn, arriving ahead of Oleksandr Zinchenko, to sweep in from 10 meters. It was Villa’s fastestgoal for 26 years.
The hosts had not, City had a grueling Champions League quarterfinal win at Dortmund and an FA Cup semifinal loss to Chelsea. Yet, with Guardiola making eight , City gradually dominated, and Riyad Mahrez tested Emi Martinez after 20 minutes.
It served as a warning as City leveled two minutes later following a terrific flowing move.
Goalkeeper Ederson began from the back, picking out Zinchenko with a 50-yard pass, and he knocked it off to Foden. The England midfielder found Mahrez on the right and continued his run into the area where Bernardo Silva, after being slipped in by Mahrez, found him to fire a volley past Martinez. City continued to press with the in Villa’s half, and Mahrez had a free kick deflected over. Villa’s concentration levels could only keep City at bay for so long, and the visitors broke through again five minutes before the break. , but just four minutes later, Stones was dismissed. He went for a just inside the City half and clattered into Ramsey, with referee Peter Bankes initially giving the defender a yellow card.