Football: Man City sweep aside Everton to close in on EPL leaders Chelsea

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling scores their first goal. PHOTO: REUTERS

MANCHESTER (AFP) - Raheem Sterling, Rodri and Bernardo Silva got the goals as Manchester City cruised to a 3-0 win over Everton to move within three points of Premier League leaders Chelsea.

With the focus of the football world on events across Manchester on Sunday (ov 21) as United sacked manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, City made light work of seeing off an Everton side still decimated by injuries to key players.

Pep Guardiola was also without Kevin De Bruyne after the Belgian tested positive for coronavirus and the injured Jack Grealish, but still had far too much in reserve for the Toffees.

Sterling was denied a penalty midway through the first half by a VAR review after referee Stuart Attwell initially pointed to the spot for a trip by Michael Keane.

The England international did not have to wait long to net on his 300th Premier League appearance as he turned home Joao Cancelo's sensational pass with the outside of his right foot for his 98th goal in the English top flight.

Without the presence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin up front, Everton rarely threatened.

Rafael Benitez's men have now taken just two points from the last 18 on offer in the Premier League to drop into the bottom half of the table and just six points clear of the relegation zone.

Rodri's stunning long-range drive into the top corner 10 minutes after the break ended the game as a contest.

He said: "Fortunately it was in - a beauty. It is the feeling... imagine the strikers scoring 20 goals, I score two or three and I'm the happiest man. It's an incredible feeing. I was watching the screen to realise the goal I scored."

City were then content to cruise for the final half-hour with one eye on Wednesday's Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

Sterling should have slotted home his second of the afternoon from Riyad Mahrez's inviting cross, but was instead denied by international teammate Jordan Pickford as he tried to round the goalkeeper.

City did get a deserved third five minutes from time when Silva followed up after Cole Palmer's shot was blocked.

On the title race, Rodri said: "We know it's going until the last games of the season, with lots of contenders. We have to be ourselves and if we keep the same way we will be in fighting."

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