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Man City lose cool on title challenge

Manchester City’s hopes of defending the Premier League title were dealt a major blow on a disastrous evening for the champions as Southampton secured a 3-1 victory at St Mary’s on Saturday.

After Jason Puncheon opened the scoring for Mauricio Pochettino’s team, an embarrassing mistake from City goalkeeper Joe Hart allowed Steven Davis to double Southampton’s lead.

Edin Dzeko got one back for City but a calamitous own goal from Gareth Barry shattered Mancini’s men, who trail leaders Manchester United by nine points after their third successive league game without a win.

For Southampton, the victory means they are now six points clear of the relegation zone and, on this evidence, look destined to secure their Premier League status for another season.    AFP


MAN U GO 12 POINTS CLEAR ATOP


Manchester United swayed ahead with a 12-point gap over rivals Manchester City after defeating Everton 2-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday. Real coach Jose Mourinho watched from Old Trafford’s directors’ box as Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie were on target for the 19-time Premier League champions to give the hosts a boost ahead of their Champions League match against Real Madrid on Wednesday. Former Arsenal star Robin van Persie set up the first goal escaping the ponderous Heitinga in the area to set up Giggs, who scored from 12 yards via the inside of a post. United struck again before half-time through van Persie who scored his 19th goal of the Premier League this season. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side took full advantage of champions Manchester City slipping up at Southampton on Saturday evening to open up a commanding gap as they go in search of their 20th title. United travel to St. Bernaebau to meet Real Madrid in the first leg of of Round of 16.


MAY BE IT’S OVER: ROBERTO MANCINI


Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has conceded that his side may have surrendered their Premier League title in Saturday’s embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Southampton. City face the prospect of falling 12 points behind Manchester United in the race to retain their crown. And Mancini admitted afterwards they will have no chance of catching Alex Ferguson’s side if they can beat Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday. ‘Maybe it’s over. I think we now have a 10 per cent. I don’t think United will drop 12 points,’ he said. ‘(The performance) was worse than poor. We didn’t play. We only played with two players in this game and 11 against two is difficult to win,’ added he.
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