Manchester City moved three points ahead at the top of the Premier League standings with a 5-0 hammering against Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium.
Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte scored in the first half to help Pep Guardiola’s side take advantage of Liverpool’s slip-up against Tottenham and shrug off their midweek Champions League defeat in style.
Rodri added the third goal around the hour mark from Kevin De Bruyne’s corner, before substitute Phil Foden and Sterling, who scored his second of the game, reinforced City’s dominance in the Manchester sunshine.
The heartbreaking loss to Real Madrid created an interesting background to the game, and Newcastle did have early opportunities, the greatest of which fell to Chris Wood.
However, City produced opportunities throughout and now have some leeway, knowing that two wins and a draw in their remaining games would be enough to keep the championship.
Newcastle, with Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier both returning from injury as substitutes, lost out on a chance to climb into the top half of the standings and stay in 13th place.
Wood’s headed opportunity after eight minutes was a pivotal moment in the game, in retrospect. The striker could only tip the ball gently to Ederson with Joelinton free behind him. It was a blunder.
Following that, City’s first goal was on the way, with Laporte hitting a volley before Joao Cancelo missed a similar tempting chance from Oleksandr Zinchenko’s cross.
Cancelo did a better job for Sterling’s goal, finding the striker from Ilkay Gundogan’s diagonal cross, with the England player finishing the rest from close range.
Newcastle very soon equalized via Wood, but Bruno Guimaraes was offside after making contact with Jamaal Lascelles’ initial header from a corner.
But when Martin Dubravka failed to handle Gundogan’s ferocious long-range strike, being beaten to the rebound by Ruben Dias before Laporte pushed home, the outcome seemed predetermined.
Of course, City had surrendered a two-goal lead to Real Madrid, but there would be no repeat, with Rodri nodding in at the near post on the hour as Newcastle retreated at the start of the second half.
The rusty Wilson had the finest opportunity for Newcastle, but Ederson stopped superbly with the striker clear through, but it was Foden who had the last say, sweeping in Zinchenko’s cross-shot after excellent work by Jack Grealish.
Sterling had the last say, latching onto Grealish’s ball to make it five in stoppage time.
The lone setback for the home team was Dias’ injury at halftime. Fortunately for City, despite Guardiola’s assertion before kickoff that they must still win all of their games to win the championship, the fact is that they now have breathing space in this competition.