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July 4, 2020

Battle for Champions League places heats up

Sports

 
July 4, 2020

LONDON: English Premier League champions Liverpool are the only club certain of their place in next season’s Champions League as the teams below them jostle for position but they were humbled 4-0 by Manchester City at Etihad on Thursday night.

Pep Guardiola’s City, should still comfortably finish in the top four, with a 14-point lead over fifth place and just six games to play.

But the outcome of their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, set to be announced in mid-July, will decide whether a two-season ban from European competitions is upheld. Liverpool started brightly against City, with Mohamed Salah testing Ederson and then hitting the post, but the hosts took charge after Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 25 minutes.

Further goals came from Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put a Sterling shot into his own net.

“Meanwhile, Sheffield United damaged Tottenham’s bid to qualify for the Champions League after surviving a VAR controversy in their 3-1 win.Chris Wilder’s side took the lead through Sander Berge’s first half strike at Bramall Lane.But Tottenham were denied an equaliser moments later when Harry Kane’s goal was chalked off by VAR for a dubious handball against Lucas Moura.

Lucas appeared to have the ball kicked against his arm in the build-up to Kane’s strike and Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho complained angrily on the touchline.

Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie rubbed salt into Mourinho’s wounds as they both netted for United after the interval.Kane’s last minute goal was no consolation for Tottenham, who are now in grave danger of missing out on next season’s Champions League.

They sit nine points behind fourth placed Chelsea and seven adrift of fifth placed Manchester United after their first defeat since the restart.

The Blades, winners for the first time in five games following the hiatus, moved two points above Tottenham into seventh place, keeping alive their hopes of qualifying for European action.