City boost top four bid, Hull in trouble

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Manchester City improved their prospects of qualifying for the Champions League with a 5-0 demolition of Crystal Palace, while relegation-threatened Hull suffered a damaging 2-0 defeat against Sunderland on Saturday.

Frustrated by damaging draws in their previous two games, City got back on track and climbed to third in the table after a stylish display inspired by David Silva’s return from injury at Eastlands.

Silva, out for a fortnight after suffering a blow to his knee during the FA Cup semifinal defeat by Arsenal, opened the scoring after two minutes.

Vincent Kompany doubled City’s lead in the 49th minute before Kevin De Bruyne’s long-range strike made it three 10 minutes later.

Raheem Sterling’s cool finish in the 82nd minute was followed by Nicolas Otamendi’s diving header in stoppage-time as City leapfrogged Liverpool on goal difference.

Pep Guardiola’s side also moved four points clear of fifth placed Manchester United as the battle to finish in the top four heats up.

United, who travel to Arsenal, and Liverpool, who host Southampton, are both in action on Sunday.

“Today was important because we are playing for the future of the club,” Guardiola said.

“The Premier League is tough. There are four amazing teams fighting for the final two places in the top four.”

Palace’s third successive defeat left them six points above the relegation zone and still not certain to stay up.

At the KCOM Stadium, already relegated Sunderland won for the first time in 11 games to leave fourth bottom Hull just two points above the relegation zone.

Hull boss Marco Silva had been unbeaten in his previous 41 home league games, a record dating back to his time in charge of Portuguese side Estoril in 2014 and encompassing spells with Sporting Lisbon and Olympiakos.

Having taken 19 points from a possible 21 at home during his four months as Hull boss, it was a shock to the Portuguese coach when his side fell behind in the 69th minute.

PRICELESS POINT

John O’Shea flicked on a corner and Billy Jones launched into a diving header that flashed past Eldin Jakupovic.

Abel Hernandez was denied an equaliser by Jordan Pickford’s superb save and Jermain Defoe steered in from an offside position to add to Hull’s misery two minutes into stoppage-time.

If third bottom Swansea beat Everton later on Saturday, then Hull will drop into the bottom three with only two games remaining.

“Ultimately there was big tension in some of the team. We need to be calm in some moments,” Silva said.

“It’s an important moment for us. We didn’t achieve what we wanted but we have two more games.”

Bournemouth secured their top-flight status for another year after a 2-2 draw against Stoke at Dean Court.

When a Stoke corner curled into the penalty area in the 33rd minute, Bournemouth’s France Under-20 international Lys Mousset, making his first Premier League start, glanced the ball into his own net, giving the visitors their first away league goal in more than 10 hours.

Junior Stanislas equalised for Bournemouth in the 62nd minute before Stoke’s Mame Biram Diouf bundled in his first goal for 12 months in the 73rd minute.

Eddie Howe’s side rescued their priceless point thanks to an 81st minute own goal from Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross.

Burnley were made to wait to confirm their survival after being held to a 2-2 draw by West Bromwich Albion at Turf Moor.

Sam Vokes put Burnley ahead before Salomon Rondon and Craig Dawson netted for the visitors.

Vokes struck again with just four minutes left, heading in after Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster misjudged Robbie Brady’s cross.

Leicester piled pressure on under-fire Watford manager Walter Mazzarri with a 3-0 win at the King Power Stadium, the goals coming from Wilfred Ndidi, Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton.

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