BOURNEMOUTH, England (AP) — Manchester City overcame Gabriel Jesus’ early departure because of injury to beat Bournemouth 2-0 and climb to second place in the English Premier League, eight points behind Chelsea on Monday.
Raheem Sterling’s 29th-minute strike and an own-goal in the 69th from Tyrone Mings, who deflected in an effort from substitute Sergio Aguero, earned City a third straight league win.
Aguero — City’s chief striker since 2011 — has lost his starting place to Gabriel Jesus but played most of the match after coming on for the Brazil striker, who hobbled off in the 15th minute with an apparent twisted right ankle. Gabriel Jesus initially tried to play on after injuring himself when landing awkwardly stretching for a cross, but slumped to the ground within minutes and signaled to the bench.
“Tomorrow morning, we’ll know exactly,” City manager Pep Guardiola said. “I will pray tonight.”
Aguero thought he scored when he slid in to glance a cross from Sterling toward goal. The ball struck the foot of Mings and deflected in, with the Premier League awarding it as an own goal.
Sterling opened the scoring by tapping home at the far post after Leroy Sane’s cross from the left ricocheted into his fellow winger’s path. The England international has scored five goals against Bournemouth, more than any other opponent.
Sterling and Sane also struck the goal frame as Pep Guardiola’s team dominated on the south coast.
“We play a good game in one of the toughest games away,” Guardiola said. “Except for 10 minutes in the second half, we controlled.”
City leapfrogged Liverpool, Arsenal, and Tottenham to be the latest nearest challenger to Chelsea, which is the big favorite for the title. City still has to play Chelsea away in early April.
“It’s so, so difficult to win all the games,” Guardiola said. “The gap is too big.”
Bournemouth hasn’t won in 2017 and is in freefall, just six points from the relegation zone. The hosts weren’t helped by captain Simon Francis (hamstring) and midfielder Jack Wilshere (ankle) going off injured in the first half.
“We reorganized and had a go,” Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said, “but ultimately they were too good.
“We have to be positive. We go into a break in the Premier League calendar and have to come back refreshed and ready to fight for our league survival.”
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