BURNLEY, England: Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus struck twice and Rodri scored a screamer in a confident 4-1 win at Burnley on Tuesday as the champions showed signs they may be able to keep the Premier League title race alive.
The victory brings Pep Guardiola's side, who had drawn at Newcastle United on Saturday, back within eight points of leaders Liverpool ahead of the Merseyside derby with Everton at Anfield on Wednesday.
Jesus opened the scoring in the 24th minute and doubled City’s advantage five minutes after the break before a spectacular drive from Rodri and a low drilled shot from substitute Riyad Mahrez made it four.
A late consolation from Burnley substitute Robbie Brady will have annoyed Guardiola, whose side have now gone eight games in all competitions without a clean sheet but that aside this was back to business for City.
They knew they could ill-afford a slip after being held at Newcastle, especially as in recent weeks City have looked well below the standards set in their two straight title campaigns.
They had already dropped 13 points in their 14 games, only three short of their total for the whole of last season.
With only one win in their last five games in all competitions, the pressure on City was real but the gap in quality between the elite clubs and the tightly-packed middle ranks of the Premier League was soon evident.
Jesus had the ball in the net in the sixth minute, turning the ball in after Angelino had volleyed a deeply hit corner goalwards, but the Brazilian was rightly ruled offside and City had to work harder for their lead.
Burnley maanger Sean Dyche switched from his usual 4-4-2 formation to feature a five-man midfield, with former Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater, on loan from Chelsea, making his first Premier League appearance in 21 months, but neither he nor his team mates could trouble the champions.
City began to move the ball around with the kind of confidence and precision that has been their hallmark under Guardiola and they were soon ahead.
The breakthrough came after a swift exchange of passes ended with David Silva threading a pass to Jesus who, filling in for the injured Sergio Aguero, curled the ball expertly into the far corner.
The lead could have been doubled two minutes before the interval when, after rare Burnley pressure in the visitors' box, City broke and the counter ended with a Bernardo Silva drive which keeper Nick Pope saved superbly with his outstretched leg.
The second goal came when Bernardo Silva curled a probing cross towards the back post and Jesus reacted quickly to get in front of his marker Phil Bardsley and volley home.
Jesus, who had not scored in his previous 10 games for club or country, was buzzing and went close to a third with a burst of pace and another shot that fizzed just wide of the far post.
Dyche threw on strikers Ashley Barnes and Jay Rodriguez just before the hour mark in an attempt to spark a rally from his lacklustre team, but there was no sign of any revival and City soon put the outcome beyond doubt.
A blocked shot from David Silva fell to Rodri on the edge of the box and the Spaniard blasted a thundering, unstoppable drive past Pope to make it three.
Mahrez, given acres of space, made it 4-0 three minutes from the end with a low shot from the edge of the box before Brady gave the muted home crowd some cheer in the cold.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Ken Ferris)