Ferran Torres scored a hat-trick as Manchester City continued their title celebrations as they twice fought back from behind to beat Newcastle 4-3 at St. James’ Park.
Playing in their first game since being crowned champions on Tuesday evening, City made a number of changes with the likes of Rúben Dias, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez left on the bench. But the supporting cast ensured they still claimed the three points, with Torres’ treble and Joao Cancelo’s deflected effort getting them over the line- but they were made to work for it by a Newcastle side now free of any relegation concerns.
City dominated the opening exchanges, with Gabriel Jesus and Torres both sending efforts wide of the post as the visitors looked likely to break the deadlock at any moment.
But it was Newcastle who took a surprise lead in the 25th minute through Emil Krafth, who headed home a corner to score his first goal for the club at the 38th time of asking.
The Magpies could have doubled their advantage ten minutes later through Jonjo Shelvey when his well-struck free-kick had Scott Carson beaten, only for the ball to cannon back off the crossbar and away.
That narrow miss seemed to spark City into life, who would equalise just three minutes later. Joao Cancelo was the man to get it, his low-driven shot taking a deflection before nestling in the bottom right corner.
And a quick-fire turnaround was complete by the 42nd minute when Torres brilliantly applied the finishing touch to a dangerous set-piece delivery, flicking the ball past Martin Dubravka using the heel of his boot with his back to goal.
That was not the end of the first half action, though, with Newcastle finding time to level the scores once again.
The hosts were initially denied a penalty after Allan Saint-Maximin was flagged offside in the build-up, but a VAR check saw that decision overruled. Therefore, Nathan Ake’s foul on Joelinton saw Steve Bruce’s side eventually awarded the spot kick.
Joelinton converted it emphatically, beating Carson with power to find the side netting and bring the curtain down on an entertaining first 45 minutes.
Neither side managed to create a clear opening in the 10 minutes after the restart, an Ilkay Gundogan free-kick the closest City came while Jacob Murphy called Carson into action at the other end.
But the goals started to flow again after the hour mark, with three goals in four minutes.
Newcastle got the first of them, again from the penalty spot after Kyle Walker had fouled Joe Willock. The Arsenal loanee picked himself up to take it only for Carson to keep him out, however he was on hand to tuck the rebound into the net.
But moments later the scores were tied up again when Torres stabbed home Jesus’ cross from the right after finding space in a crowded penalty area.
And the young Spaniard completed his treble in the 66th minute. After Cancelo struck the post with his shot, Torres reacted first as the ball rebounded back into the box to side foot into an unguarded goal.
In what had been a hectic game, City were able to see out the remainder of the contest in comfortable fashion as they kept the ball at will.
Jamal Lewis, Sean Longstaff and Dwight Gayle came on for Joelinton, Matt Ritchie and Federico Fernandez as Newcastle looked to find a way a finding another in the dying stages, but they could not breach the City defence again to earn themselves a point despite their efforts.
With the title wrapped up the points were trivial to City, however the win does take them 13 points clear of second placed Man Utd after 36 games and sees them set a new English league record of 12 consecutive away wins.
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