Aston Villa’s hopes of Champions League football next season hung by a thread at half-time today thanks to a speedy turnaround in fortunes at the City of Manchester Stadium.
With Villa having played a game more than rivals Tottenham and Manchester City, they knew only victory over City would keep their chances alive.
Things began well for Martin O’Neill’s side when John Carew put them ahead in the 16th minute, forcing the ball under emergency loan keeper Marton Fulop, and it stayed that way until four minutes from half-time.
Then a rash tackle from Stephen Warnock on Adam Johnson allowed Carlos Tevez to equalise from the penalty spot.
Carew immediately smashed a shot against the bar but City went down the other end and grabbed their second goal in three minutes when Johnson calmly set up Emmanuel Adebayor.
Tottenham were also ahead against Bolton thanks to a superb 38th-minute strike from Tom Huddlestone.
Birmingham kept their unbeaten home run going with a 2-1 victory over Burnley in today’s early game.
The ninth-placed Blues have not lost at home since September and they were two up at half-time today thanks to an own goal from keeper Brian Jensen and Christian Benitez’s first strike at St Andrew’s.
Steven Thompson pulled one back but it was too little, too late for the relegated Clarets.
The FA Cup final is certain to be on Portsmouth’s minds but they showed they are not prepared to bow out of the Premier League with a whimper by taking a 2-1 lead against Wolves.
Aruna Dindane put them ahead in the 20th minute with a header from Michael Brown’s cross. Kevin Doyle finally beat David James to level but John Utaka restored Pompey’s lead just before half-time.
At the Britannia Stadium, Stoke and Everton were drawing 0-0.