Fulham 1-2 Manchester City: Alvarez’s stunner helps City move to top spot

Manchester City moved to the top of the Premier League table for the first time since mid-February after beating Fulham on Sunday afternoon.

Pep Guardiola’s men managed to outlast a wounded but resilient Whites side to go one point clear of Arsenal with a game in hand on the Gunners.

Marco Silva’s charges put up a spirited fight but ultimately fell short at Craven Cottage.

Man City were awarded a penalty with only 90 seconds on the clock. Jack Grealish’s cross was knocked back by Riyad Mahrez and met by Julian Alvarez, who was felled by the clumsy Tim Ream. Erling Haaland stepped up and picked out the very bottom corner to move onto a joint-Premier League record 34 goals for the season.

Haaland then nearly turned provide when he rolled away from Tosin Adarabioyo and teed up the free Grealish, whose curling effort was easily held by Bernd Leno.

On the 15-minute mark, Fulham found themselves level. Andreas Pereira’s long ball over the top was nodded by Harry Wilson and into the path of Carlos Vinicius, who fired a half-volley past Ederson.

The visitors spurned a glorious opportunity to go ahead again in front soon after when Alvarez robbed Ream of possession, but just as he was about to pull the ball back, Joao Palhinha arrived in the nick of time and stole it right back.

Grealish found himself in acres of space once more but couldn’t find the net, with Leno this time touching his shot onto the crossbar.

Soon after, Man City did go back in front. Wilson lost the ball in midfield and were caught out with a quick counter-attack, with Alvarez carrying the ball forward, reversing back to the 25-yard mark when harried by several retreating bodies and then powerfully lobbing Leno with a delectable finish.

Ilkay Gundogan could have added a third when his marauding run was found by an intricate Mahrez pass, though Leno was quick off his line to deny him from close range.

Shortly after the break, Leno pulled off another marvellous save, getting down low to keep Haaland out after the Norwegian met Grealish’s cut-back.

The German goalkeeper produced a similar stop to frustrate Alvarez minutes later as Man City’s search for a third goal continued.

Fulham were incensed that they weren’t awarded a penalty when Ederson collided with Ruben Dias and found himself sprawling to claw the free ball off of Vinicius, though his challenge was deemed fair and the goalkeeper got away with one.

Minutes later, the hosts were again left angry when they weren’t awarded a spot kick after Bobby De Cordova-Reid fell under shove from Kyle Walker, but again on replay there did not appear to be a foul.

The hosts piled the pressure on Man City in the game’s closing stages but were unable to find another equaliser and the champions left west London with the points.

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