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June 29, 2017

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Man City top Premier League

LIVERPOOL, England -- Manchester City hurdled its last big obstacle en route to the English Premier League title by winning 3-2 at Everton, while heavy defeats condemned Fulham and Cardiff to relegation on Saturday.

Two home wins, against Aston Villa on Wednesday and West Ham on Sunday, separate City from a second championship in three years after coming from behind to win at Goodison Park — a stadium where it has traditionally struggled with just one victory from its last 15 visits.

Sergio Aguero's goal cancelled out Ross Barkley's brilliant 11th-minute opener for Everton, then Edin Dzeko scored twice in a five-minute span bridging halftime to help City go top — for a day at least — on goal difference from Liverpool, and two points clear of Chelsea.

All three teams have two games left, with Chelsea playing Norwich on Sunday and Liverpool at Crystal Palace on Monday.

"Three points is a huge step for us," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. "It's a decisive moment, but we haven't finished yet."

Aguero gave City a scare by limping off in the 28th minute — soon after scoring his equalizer — but said on Twitter that he came off as a precaution and he was "fine."

Everton's defeat dealt a major blow to the title hopes of neighbor Liverpool, and ensured Arsenal clinched fourth spot and Champions League qualification for the 17th straight season.

Resurgent Sunderland's surprise 1-0 win at Manchester United pulled the team three points clear of third-from-bottom Norwich, gave interim United manager Ryan Giggs a reality check, and also consigned Fulham and Cardiff to the second tier.

Fulham lost 4-1 at Stoke, and Cardiff was defeated 3-0 at Newcastle, leaving both sides unable to climb out of the relegation zone.

"I have to apologize for not managing the situation. The club asked me to come — I tried," said Fulham manager Felix Magath, who was hired in February in an attempt to keep the club in the top division for a 14th straight season. "You can never say any player would like to see relegation, but they didn't fight enough, especially today."

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