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With late three-goal flourish, Manchester City wins Premier League

Manchester City fans storm the pitch after the team clinched the Premier League championship with a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa at Etihad Stadium in Manchester. (Oli Scarff/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)
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Manchester City staged a thrilling comeback with a flurry of three goals in five minutes for a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa, edging Liverpool to win its sixth Premier League title in 11 seasons Sunday.

City trailed by two goals, giving Liverpool fans hope that City might be on the cusp of an epic upset as they watched their team in a taut match with Wolverhampton. Like City, Liverpool came on strong in the late going, scoring in the 84th and 89th minutes for a 3-1 victory. But City’s lead in the standings was insurmountable, and its late heroics sent fans in Etihad Stadium into hysteria as they stormed the pitch.

Over 38 games, City finished with 93 points to Liverpool’s 92 and held a 73-68 edge in goal differential. City’s win ends Liverpool’s unprecedented “quadruple” quest — the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup, the Premier League title and the UEFA Champions League title. Liverpool can still win three; it faces Real Madrid on Saturday in the Champions League final in Paris. Jurgen Klopp, the team’s manager, took the turn of events Sunday in stride, telling NBC, “If you want to win big, you have to be ready to lose big.”

Pep Guardiola’s team won its fourth title in five seasons, but it took a late charge to get City over the top. Ilkay Gündogan, on as a substitute for Bernardo Silva, scored on a far-post header in the 76th minute, followed by Rodri’s two minutes after that and another by Gündogan in the 81st minute. Overall, the title is City’s eighth all-time; only Manchester United (20), Liverpool (19), Arsenal (13) and Everton (nine) have more championships.

The pitch quickly became the scene of chaos. Aston Villa goalie Robin Olsen was struck several times as he sought to leave the field.

“It was an unbelievable game,” Gündogan said (via the Associated Press). “We are human beings and, after going 2-0 down, the chances were just very, very small. But we had to do the simple things and scoring two goals quickly and then having 10 minutes to score the third one gave us the right lift.

“It was about getting that goal, and then the momentum was on our side, then [we] were able to score three goals in just a few minutes. These are the days you look back to. It was an unbelievable game.”

With fans in Etihad and in Anfield erupting each time Wolverhampton and Aston Villa scored, the atmosphere was electric until the end, with Guardiola breaking down in tears at the final whistle.

Oleksandr Zinchenko, a City player from Ukraine, was overcome as he wrapped the league trophy in the Ukrainian flag. “It’s unforgettable for me, for all Ukrainians which are starving, surviving in my country because of Russian aggression,” he said. “I’m so proud to be Ukrainian. I’d love to bring this title to Ukraine — they deserve it.”