Man City stays serene in title charge on wild night in EPL

Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez, center, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Brentford at the City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

MANCHESTER, UK (AP) – The quickest goal of the season. A six-goal thriller featuring a sprinkle of Brazilian magic. A stunning late comeback.

It was a wild night of action in the Premier League. Except, that is, at Manchester City, whose march to the defense of its title couldn’t be more serene.

City never lost control in a routine 2-0 win over Brentford that saw the champions open up a 12-point lead in the title race.

Control was what Tottenham lacked in conceding two late goals in a chaotic 3-2 loss at home to Southampton that damaged its top-four ambitions.

It was even more frantic and end-to-end in the 3-3 draw between Aston Villa and Leeds in which Philippe Coutinho took center stage. The Brazil playmaker scored one goal and set up two others to push Villa 3-1 ahead, only for Leeds to fight back for a draw to keep the team clear of relegation danger.

The other match of the night wasn’t without incident, either, as Norwich scored after 38 seconds — through Teemu Pukki — for the fastest goal scored this season in a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace, for whom Wilfried Zaha scored a superb solo equalizer before missing a penalty with a scuffed effort that went well wide.