Yaya Toure blasted Manchester City to within touching distance of the Barclays Premier League title with a hard-fought victory at Newcastle.
The Ivory Coast international struck twice in the final 20 minutes of a pulsating contest to secure a 2-0 win and three precious points and send City into next Sunday’s final-day clash with QPR in pole position to claim their first title in 44 years.
City’s last triumph in 1968 came courtesy of a 4-3 win at St James’ Park, and today’s victory could prove almost as pivotal.
They will go into the final weekend ahead of Manchester United on goal difference after Sir Alex Ferguson’s side beat Swansea 2-0. After watching City’s crucial win United did enough against the Welsh side, thanks to first-half goals from Paul Scholes and Ashley Young, but will need an unlikely nine-goal swing on the final day if City do triumph.
There was even more drama at the bottom, with Bolton and QPR suffering differing late fortunes.
With both needing a win to boost their survival hopes, QPR got one thanks to substitute Djibril Cisse`s 89th-minute goal that earned them a 1-0 success over Stoke.
Bolton too appeared set for victory, with Martin Petrov`s 23rd-minute penalty and Billy Jones’ own goal putting them 2-0 ahead against West Brom.
But despite knowing manager Roy Hodgson is leaving them to take the England job, West Brom rallied back and Chris Brunt (75) and James Morrison (90) stunned the Reebok Stadium in to silence.
Bolton are two points shy of safety in the final relegation position, and Blackburn will be relegated if they fail to beat Wigan tonight.
That also means Aston Villa are safe, despite failing to see off 10-man Tottenham at Villa Park, drawing 1-1.