Mahrez misses penalty late to boost Liverpool’s title race, Everton



Another Premier League trophy is virtually in the hands of Manchester City.

All that was needed was for Riyadh Mahrez to convert a penalty, as he had done in his previous seven attempts from the spot this season.

Not now.

Mahrez saved a penalty by Lukasz Fabianski in the 86th minute, drew 2-2 with West Ham on Sunday and left City with a four-point lead over Liverpool. The last week of the season.

Liverpool are heading to Southampton for their game on Tuesday, requiring at least one point for Sunday in the final day of the title race.

A win could be needed as City have seven more goals than Liverpool.

City host Aston Villa are still dreaming of an unprecedented four times bigger trophy when they host the Wolves in their last game against the Liverpool Reds.

City manager Pep Guardiola said: “We couldn’t expect anything different with Liverpool, they were almost the perfect team.

“We didn’t expect to win the title with three, four or five matches left.”

It could have ended so long ago, but only if Mahrez dropped his spot kick to Fabianski.

Guardiola rarely jumped when Fabianski dived to his left and removed the penalty, which was an inviting height for the goalkeeper.

“We will not look to anyone else, we will just try and win our game,” said Guardiola, referring to a date with Villa manager Steven Gerrard, who must have been a Liverpool legend.

On the other end of the standings it is just as exciting, though, as Leeds relegated to a relegation fight, with Pascal Struijk scoring in the second minute of stoppage time to save a 1-1 draw against Brighton and cost Burnley out of the relegation zone.

Burnley lost 1-0 to Tottenham a few hours earlier – Harry Kane scored the winning goal from the penalty spot – and slipped one point to third from Leeds.

Everton had a chance to guarantee top-flight survival after losing to Brentford – but they lost 3-2 in the 18th minute when defender Jarad Branthwaite was sent off when they were 1-0 up and then Salomon Rondon was given a red card. 88th.

Richardson regained the lead for Everton with a penalty in stoppage time in the first half, but Brentford responded with two goals within two minutes of the 62nd.

Everton, who have two matches left, have 36 points, Leeds, who have one more game to play, two at 35 and two at Burnley, 34.

The race to qualify for the Champions League continues towards the final day, with Tottenham rising to fourth place two points ahead of North London rivals Arsenal.

Arsenal have two games left over against Tottenham, the first coming to Newcastle on Monday.

Tottenham end the season in Norwich, and Arsenal host Everton.

Under outgoing manager Roy Hodgson, Watford’s season is about to end in a mess, with his side trailing Leicester 5-1, one point above last-placed Norwich.

Jamie Verdi and Harvey Burns both scored twice and James Madison scored another for Leicester as the already exiled Watford holds the all-time top-flight record of 15 home runs in a single season.

Norwich drew 1-1 with the Wolves, equaling the score between Aston Villa and Crystal Palace.

© AAP

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