Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie on the spot to dent Manchester City’s title hopes

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Rafael Benítez succeeded in pulling off the rare feat of making two sets of supporters extremely happy.

Not content with choreographing a win which eases his side’s relegation worries, Newcastle’s manager significantly enhanced the chances of the former club still closest to his heart beating Manchester City to the title.

Should Liverpool defeat Leicester at Anfield on Wednesday night they will go seven points clear of Pep Guardiola’s team, who may have kicked off with a swagger in their step but departed Tyneside staring at the floor.

Few would have guessed the final score correctly after 24 seconds. Raheem Sterling has been setting agendas on and off the pitch of late and, straight from the kick-off, he was at it again, advancing down the right before sending a deep cross looping towards the far post.

With Benítez’s back five looking merely half awake, Martin Dubravka was left unprotected and came off his line. His advance failed to prevent David Silva challenging – rather bravely or, perhaps, foolishly – for a header and, almost inevitably, the pair collided leaving Newcastle’s goalkeeper to miss the ball completely. Unluckily for Dubravka it fell for Sergio Agüero to lash into the empty net from around six yards.

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