Penalty save denies Man City victory, keeps Premier League title race alive

Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez takes a penalty during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham United and Manchester City at London stadium. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

A dramatic penalty save might have kept the Premier League title race alive.

When Riyad Mahrez stepped up to take an 86th-minute spot kick for Manchester City, he knew that converting it would virtually secure another league championship for his team.

It was saved, though, by West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski and City had to settle for a 2-2 draw at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday — albeit from 2-0 down at halftime — to leave Liverpool still with hope.

City is now four points clear of Liverpool, which heads to Southampton on Tuesday needing at least a point to take the title race to the final round next Sunday.

A win is probably required at Southampton, though, given City has a superior goal difference of 7 compared to Liverpool.

City finishes at home to Aston Villa, managed by Liverpool great Steven Gerrard, who was never able to win the league for Liverpool. He still could — but as a coach.

Liverpool hosts Wolverhampton in its last game.

City manager Pep Guardiola hardly flinched when Fabianski dived to his left and clawed away Mahrez’s penalty. After a few seconds, Guardiola scratched the side of his head and rubbed his face, and didn’t appear too disheartened at the final whistle as he shared an embrace with Mark Noble — West Ham’s long-serving midfielder who is retiring at the end of the season and was making his final home appearance for the club.

Mahrez had converted his previous seven penalties this season. His most high-profile miss from the spot was in the 2018-19 season — another City vs. Liverpool title race — when he skied a penalty late in the game in a 0-0 draw at Anfield.

It’s just as tense at the other end of the standings.

Leeds scored in the second minute of stoppage time to salvage a 1-1 draw against Brighton and move out of the relegation zone at Burnley’s expense.

Pascal Struijk headed in the goal for Jesse Marsch’s Leeds, though it owed so much to a brilliant piece of skill on the byline by Joe Gelhardt before he crossed the ball over to Struijk to score at the back post.

Burnley lost 1-0 at Tottenham a few hours earlier — Harry Kane scored the winner from the penalty spot — and lies in third-to-last place, one point behind Leeds.

Burnley does have two games remaining while Leeds has one.

Everton will be safe from relegation by beating Brentford later Sunday.

Watford’s season is coming to a messy end under departing manager Roy Hodgson, a 5-1 home loss to Leicester leaving his team a point above last-place Norwich, which drew 1-1 at Wolves.

Norwich and Watford have already been relegated.

Aston Villa and Crystal Palace drew 1-1.

The race for Champions League qualification is also heading for the final day, too, with Tottenham climbing into fourth place — two points ahead of north London rival Arsenal.

Arsenal has two games remaining compared to Tottenham’s one, the first coming at Newcastle on Monday.

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