- Iheanachoâ€™s goal counts for nothing in nine-goal thriller at Wembley
The duo of Mohamed Salah of Liverpool and Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City were the heroes on the final day of the 2017/2018 English Premier League.
A dramatic 94th-minute winner from Gabriel Jesus gave Premier League champions Manchester City a 1-0 win over Southampton to ensure they became the first team ever to reach 100 points in an English top-flight season.
“Maybe this record will be broken but it will be difficult,” saidÂ Â City Manager, Pep Guardiola after his side finished 19 points ahead of nearest rivals Manchester United.
“What can I say, 100 points! We won 50 points at home and 50 away. It’s massive. One hundred points is magnificent.”
As well as winning the most points by an English top-flight side in a single campaign, City’s 32nd win broke Tottenham’s 57-year record for victories in a single top-flight season.
“It was such a complicated game. It was so hard. The players suffered. Southampton are a physical team, so many people defending deep,” added Guardiola.
Southampton needed a point to ensure safety but Swansea’s 2-1 home defeat by Stoke means Saints will play in the top flight for a seventh successive season.
Egyptian sensation, Salah, also set a new recordÂ of 32 goals in a 38-game EPL seasonÂ when he fired the first of Liverpoolâ€™s 4-0 defeat ofÂ Brighton at Anfield yesterday. The victory sealedÂ Champions League place forÂ the Reds.
Victory meant the Reds matched their fourth-place finish of last season – they would have moved up to third had Tottenham not edged a thrilling 5-4 win at home to Leicester.
It was his record goal that set the Reds on course to blowing Brighton away. The opener, a low finish from Dominic Solanke’s pass. Dejan Lovren doubled the lead by powerfully heading in Andrew Robertson’s cross and after the break it was more of the same – Liverpool continued to dominate.
Solanke smashed in his first goal for the club off the underside of the bar, having met Salah’s lay-off at the end of a strong run, while full-back Andrew Robertson also got his first Liverpool goal, sweeping in from close range with five minutes to play.
Liverpool would have slipped out of the top four had they lost and Chelsea beaten Newcastle, but they made sure the Blues’ performance – a 3-0 defeat at St James’ Park – was irrelevant.
What a remarkable season it has been for Egypt forward Salah, who signed from Roma for Â£34m last summer.
It was an impressive Liverpool performance on a perfect sunny afternoon at Anfield as Jurgen Klopp’s side lingered long after the final whistle, soaking up the celebratory atmosphere with the Champions League final against Real Madrid to come onÂ May 26.
“Two weeks’ break is perfect for us,” said Klopp. “We will be ready for the final. This group of players really deserve it. They keep moving to the next level.”
Salah was the centre of attention as he was feted on his side’s home pitch after the match. There was the Golden Boot for Premier League’s top scorer to be presented, the club’s player of the year trophy too. The forward was clearly moved, and he shared the moment with his wife and young daughter.
Elsewhere,Â Super Eagles forward, Kelechi Iheanacho, was on the scorersâ€™ sheet yesterday as Tottenham Hotspur edged his Leicester City 5-4 in a nine-goal thriller at Wembley.
Iheanacho scored a superb long range strike on 48 minutes to put Leicester 3-1 ahead. Jamie Vardy (4th, 73rd minutes) and Riyad Mahrez (16th minute) were the other scorers for Leicester.
But a brace from Harry Kane (seventh, 76th minutes), Erik Lamela (49th, 61st minutes) and an own goal from Christian Fuchs (53rd minute), secured the win for Spurs.
Also on the last day of the 2017/2018 season, Arsenal gave Arsene Wenger a parting gift in his final game as manager after 22 years in charge by winning their first points away from home in the Premier League in 2018 with a 1-0 win at Huddersfield.
“Of course it is very emotional after 1,235 games for the same club,” said Wenger. “To enjoy it we had to win it. Winning football games is what makes me happy and the boys did it.”
Club record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted his 10th goal in 13 games since joining in January by finishing off the sort of free-flowing move that Wenger has made his trademark as Gunners boss.