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Manchester City assured themselves of direct entry into next season's Champions League group stage with a 4-2 win away to Swansea City in Sunday's early Premier League match.
Manchester City into Champions League group stage
05/17/2015
 
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Manchester City assured themselves of direct entry into next season's Champions League group stage with a 4-2 win away to Swansea City in Sunday's early Premier League match.


The top three sides in England at the end of the season are guaranteed a place in the group stage of European football's elite club competition, with the Premier League's fourth-placed team having to enter a qualifying round instead.


Three goals came before half-time at the Liberty Stadium, with Yaya Toure, assisted by an error from Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianksi, and James Milner putting City 2-0 up before Gylfi Sigurdsson pulled a goal back for Swansea on the stroke of half-time.


French striker Bafetimbi Gomis equalised for the Swans midway through the second half before Toure, with Fabianksi out of position, made it 3-2 to City with a low shot from the edge of the box.


Former Swansea forward Wilfried Bony made it 4-2 in stoppage time with only his second goal since he moved in the mid-season transfer window.


Before Bony put the result beyond doubt City, last season's Premier League title-winners, were indebted to a couple of superb saves from goalkeeper Joe Hart.


"We don't answer to anyone apart from each other, the fans and the management," England international Hart told Sky Sports.


"After the (Manchester) United defeat we made second our aim, we've won five on the spin and we'll try to win the last one against Southampton."


City manager Manuel Pellegrini added: "We needed to win to ensure we were in Europe.


"It was an open game. We conceded two easy goals but I am happy with the performance against a good team," the Chilean added.


Toure's future at City -- fuelled by some provocative comments from his agent -- has been the subject of intense speculation, with many observers feeling he hasn't hit the same heights as he did when the club won the English title last season.


But Pellegrini said he had never lost faith in the ability of the 32-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder.


"I didn't have any doubt about Yaya," the manager insisted. "Maybe the media started with him after his birthday. After that he went to the Africa Cup (of Nations) and we couldn't win (the Premier League).


"Maybe an important player has more criticism, but I never had doubts."


Despite this defeat, Swansea will finish the season in an impressive eighth position and manager Garry Monk said: "I am disappointed with the result but once again the players' character and commitment was there to see.


"I thought we could have got something out of the game but it wasn't to be."


Victory left City eight points clear of United, currently fourth, with only a maximum of six on offer to their local rivals in the Red Devils' final two games of the season.


But United, who face third-placed Arsenal at Old Trafford later on Sunday, could yet join already-crowned Premier League champions Chelsea and City in the top three.

Source: Julian GUYER/ AFP
 
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