Ferran Torres netted his first hat-trick for Manchester City as the newly crowned Premier League champions edged a seven-goal thriller 4-3 at St James’ Park.
City hadn’t played since being confirmed as champions for the 2020/21 season earlier in the week and they played their part in what was a whirlwind encounter against a Newcastle team already safe from relegation.
Pep Guardiola made changes to the City side that lost to Chelsea, with Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne both missing for the newly-crowned Premier League champions. Scott Carson was also handed his City debut, 10 years after his last Premier League start.
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This didn’t stop City from starting the match strongly, though, dominating possession in the first half. However, it was Newcastle who took a shock lead against the run of play on 25 minutes when Emil Krafth headed home a Jonjo Shelvey corner kick.
Shelvey himself came close to adding a second for the Magpies, crashing a free kick effort off the crossbar with Carson beaten as the home side posed a threat on the rapid counter-attack.
City players celebrate Cancelo's goal
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City equalised through Joao Cancelo, whose hopeful strike from just inside the box was deflected into the far corner of the net, before Ferran Torres flicked an Ilkay Gundogan free kick past Martin Dubravka to put his 2-1 ahead.
There was, however, more first half drama as a lengthy VAR check resulted in Newcastle being awarded a penalty kick for a foul by Nathan Ake on Joelinton and the Brazilian striker made no mistake in thumping home an equaliser from 12 yards.
Newcastle scored a third through Joe Willock who finished on the rebound after a penalty save by Carson only for Torres to equalise less than two minutes later, converting a Gabriel Jesus cross into the box.
And Torres completed his hat-trick moments later, reacting quickest to a Cancelo strike that rebounded off the post to score Manchester City’s fourth goal of the evening into the empty net.
The result moves City 13 points clear of Manchester United in second place, with Guardiola and his players already planning for the Champions League final against Chelsea later this month.
TALKING POINT - Where was this attacking abandon from Newcastle earlier in the season?
While Manchester City claimed another win here, it was the performance of Newcastle United that was most notable. This was a completely different sort of display to what the Magpies produced for the majority of the season. Indeed, Newcastle posed a real threat on the counter attack throughout, with Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton rampant at times. Fans must be wondering why their team have waited this late in the campaign to start showing more in the final third.
Joelinton drew Newcastle level from the penalty spot
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MAN OF THE MATCH - Ferran Torres (Manchester City)
Torres was the standout performer for City, scoring his first hat-trick in English football. The Spaniard demonstrated his ability to play as a centre forward in the first half of the season and proved his scoring instincts in all three goals he scored at St James’ Park. His scorpion kick to put City 2-1 up was the pick of the bunch, showing great improvisation inside the opposition penalty area. This was a performance that underlined Torres’ performance.
Newcastle United - Dubravka 5, Krafth 6, Fernandez 4, Dummett 4, Murphy 5, Shelvey 7, Willock 7, Ritchie 7, Almiron 5, Saint-Maximin 6, Joelinton 8. Subs - Longstaff 4, Gayle 3, Lewis 3.
Manchester City - Carson 6, Walker 5, Garcia 7, Ake 3, Cancelo 6, Rodrigo 5, Gundogan 6, Sterling 4, Silva 6, Torres 9, Jesus 6. Subs - Mendy 4.
25’ GOAL! Newcastle United 1-0 Manchester City: Completely against the run of play, Newcastle have taken the lead! Krafth got on the end of a corner kick delivery into the box by Shelvey and guides his header past Carson! City had been dominant in this match so far!
36’ Off the crossbar! Inches away from a second Newcastle United goal! Shelvey's freekick strike was a good one, but the midfielder sees his effort crash off the woodwork! Wow!
39’ GOAL! Newcastle United 1-1 Manchester City: The champions are level! Man City kept the ball alive in the penalty area, the ball was played back to Cancelo and the Portuguese full back's strike picks up a deflection and spins into the far corner of the Newcastle net!
42’ GOAL! Newcastle United 1-2 Manchester City: What an incredible finish! Gundogan's freekick delivery wasn't the best, but Torres improvised and flicked a finish into the far corner of the net! Manchester City have turned this match around at the end of the first half!
45+5’ PENALTY KICK TO NEWCASTLE UNITED! After a long VAR check, a spot kick has been awarded after a foul by Ake on Joelinton.
45+6’ GOAL! Newcastle United 2-2 Manchester City: Joelinton steps up to take the penalty kick and rattles home a finish! There was no way Carson was stopping that! Even if he'd got a hand to it, the power of the strike would have taken the goalkeeper into the back of the net!
62’ PENALTY KICK TO NEWCASTLE UNITED! Willock is felled inside the box by Walker and it's a spot kick!
63’ GOAL! Newcastle United 3-2 Manchester City: Carson makes the save from Willock, but the on-loan Arsenal midfielder is quickest to the rebound and finishes into the back of the net! What a bizarre match this has been! Newcastle United have the lead again over the champions!
64’ GOAL! Newcastle United 3-3 Manchester City: An instant response from the newly-crowned Premier League champions! Jesus drives into the box down the right and fires a ball into the box. Torres reacted quickest to turn it high into the roof of the net! Back on level terms!
66’ GOAL! Newcastle United 3-4 Manchester City: City have regained the lead! Cancelo's shot from outside the box strikes the post, but Torres reacts quickest to finish the rebound into the back of the empty net! That's a hat trick for the Spanish forward! What a display!
Joelinton has scored three goals in his last seven Premier League outings, as many as he did in his first 61 games for Newcastle United.
Ferran Torres became the youngest player to score a league hat-trick for a Pep Guardiola team, beating Lionel Messi’s previous record from January 2010.
Manchester City have now won 12 Premier League away matches in succession, setting a new record in England’s top four leagues.
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