Erling Haaland nets the winner as Manchester City narrows the gap

Manchester City’s narrow victory against Brentford saw Erling Haaland net a late goal, bringing them within striking distance of the Premier League summit in a tough encounter at Etihad Stadium.

The pivotal moment occurred when Brentford’s Kristoffer Ajer slipped, allowing Haaland to capitalise and score his 22nd goal of the season. This win propelled City into second place, setting the stage for a crucial showdown with league leader Liverpool in March.

Despite City’s dominance in possession, Brentford displayed resilience, organising defensively after their recent heavy defeat against Liverpool. Despite their improved performance, Brentford remains just five points clear of the relegation zone, seeking sustained improvement to secure their top-flight status.

Haaland, determined from the outset, created several opportunities but was initially thwarted by Brentford’s defence and goalkeeper Mark Flekken. Yet his persistence paid off, ultimately breaking the deadlock and sealing City’s victory.

Although Haaland believed he had doubled City’s lead, his close-range effort was disallowed for offside. Nevertheless, he maintains his lead in the Golden Boot standings, a significant factor in the title race.

The match was not without its tensions, with City manager Pep Guardiola visibly frustrated by Brentford’s perceived time-wasting tactics. Despite Brentford’s occasional threats, including a near miss by Ivan Toney, City’s resolve proved decisive in securing the win.

In a significant diplomatic shift, the Joe Biden administration has presented an alternative draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council, urging a temporary ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict. It has also opposed a substantial ground offensive by Israel in Rafah. The draft, obtained by Reuters, marks a u-turn from the U.S.’s previous reluctance to use the term “ceasefire” in U.N. actions related to the conflict.

The proposed resolution emphasises the Security Council’s support for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, contingent on the release of all hostages, and calls for the unrestricted provision of humanitarian aid. It would see the Security Council “underscore its support for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released, and call for lifting all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale.”

The United States does “not plan to rush” to a vote and intends to allow time for negotiations, a senior U.S. administration official told Reuters.