Landmark goals for Haaland, Kane; Man City top of EPL
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Erling Haaland's goals are propelling Manchester City toward a treble of trophies.
Harry Kane, meanwhile, seems powerless to stop Tottenham's slide.
English soccer's two most prolific strikers both scored landmark goals on Sunday.
But while Haaland's 50th in all competitions this season helped City to go top of the table, Kane's 208th goal in the Premier League could not prevent Spurs from a third loss in four games, albeit in the most dramatic fashion in a 4-3 defeat to Liverpool.
Kane is now tied with Wayne Rooney as the Premier League's second-highest scorer of all time, behind only Alan Shearer on 260.
Trophies, however, continue to elude Kane, even in a season when he has become the all-time record scorer for England and Tottenham.
It is a different story for Haaland, who seems destined to end his first year at City with both silverware and individual honors.
The Norwegian's third minute penalty in City's 2-1 win at Fulham saw him score his 34th Premier League goal of the season to tie the record jointly held by Shearer and Andy Cole. While their totals were in 42-game seasons, Haaland's goals have come in a 38-game campaign, in which the Norwegian still has six more matches to set a new benchmark in English soccer's top flight.
Crucially, those goals are edging City ever closer to the title.
Haaland scored a third-minute penalty, with Carlos Vinicius equalizing for Fulham in the 15th. Julian Alvarez scored the winner in the 36th.
The defending champions moved a point ahead of long-time leaders Arsenal, with a game in hand.
“Congratulations to Erling, but the best goals (are) the ones to help us achieve our goals this season,” City manager Pep Guardiola said.
Had Guardiola been successful in his pursuit of Kane in the summer of 2021, the Tottenham striker might have already ended his search for a first major trophy of his career.
Instead, Haaland is the man leading City's attack and its charge toward the title, the Champions League and FA Cup.
Kane has scored 28 goals this season, despite Tottenham unravelling in recent months, with just two wins from its last 11 games.
He volleyed in his 25th league goal to spark an unlikely comeback against Liverpool after Spurs had gone 3-0 down inside 15 minutes at Anfield.
Richarlison headed an equalizer to make it 3-3 in stoppage time, only for Diogo Jota to score the winner almost immediately after.
It left Kane having to front up to explain the latest setback after last week's humiliating 6-1 loss to Newcastle.
“It was a dreadful start in the first 20 minutes, it’s not the first time it’s happened this season. We need to start understanding big games better,” Kane said. “The table doesn’t lie, where we are doesn’t lie. We’ve got some fantastic players and had moments, but as a team we aren’t playing good enough collectively.”
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CALLING
Bruno Fernandes scored the winner that moved Manchester United closer to Champions League qualification.
The Portugal international struck in the 39th to seal a 1-0 win against Aston Villa at Old Trafford that leaves fourth-place United seven points clear of Liverpool with a game in hand.
Having already won the League Cup, United has also secured an FA Cup final showdown against Manchester City in June.
“It’s really important for us to get top four and then we have to think about winning a trophy so we have to find the energy and aim for the top four and the FA Cup,” Fernandes said.
KLOPP SUFFERS INJURY
As Jota struck a late winner in Liverpool's victory against Tottenham, Jurgen Klopp could not contain himself on the sidelines.
But the German coach was forced to cut his celebrations when appearing to pull his hamstring when joyously greeting the goal.
Klopp held the back of his leg and hobbled as the rest of Anfield erupted.
“I’m not sure it’s a hamstring. It could be an adductor as well. It’s painful,” Klopp said.
Curtis Jones, Luiz Diaz and Mohamed Salah all scored inside 15 minutes for Liverpool, but Kane and Son Heung-min set up a dramatic finish.
Richarlison equalized in stoppage time, before Jota's winner.
A fourth straight win moved Liverpool up to fifth in the table and in position for Europa League qualification.
Leeds' hopes of avoiding relegation took another blow after a 4-1 loss to Bournemouth.
The Yorkshire club is just one point above the bottom three, having played a game more than 18th-place Leicester and 19th-place Everton, who meet on Monday.
Jefferson Lerma scored twice for Bournemouth, with Dominic Solanke and Antoine Semenyo getting the others. Patrick Bamford pulled one back for Leeds.
The win puts Bournemouth on 39 points, which is likely to be enough to secure Premier League survival.
“Three points today I believe achieves our goal of staying in the Premier League,” said Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil. “Now we can set more goals for the next four games.”
When Stuart Armstrong fired bottom-of-the-table Southampton ahead against Newcastle, it looked like another potential twist in the fight for survival.
But two goals from Callum Wilson and a Theo Walcott own-goal secured a 3-1 win for Champions League-chasing Newcastle, ending any chance of an unlikely victory for the Saints.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
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James Robson, The Associated Press