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Gvardiol unfazed by Alvarez taking penalty as defender gives up hat-trick chance

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 11 May 2024

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Josko Gvardiol had no problem with Julian Alvarez taking a late penalty in Manchester City’s 4-0 rout of Fulham, as he passed up the chance to score a memorable Premier League hat-trick.

Gvardiol scored in both halves as City crushed Marco Silva’s men at Craven Cottage on Saturday, going top of the table ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Manchester United on Sunday.

The defender slotted his finish into the bottom-left corner after exchanging passes with Kevin De Bruyne for his first, then stretched to prod Bernardo Silva’s cross under Bernd Leno for his brace.

It looked like he might get the chance to make it a treble when Alvarez won a stoppage-time penalty, and the Croatian was deep in conversation with his team-mates around the spot before the Argentine dispatched the kick.

Speaking to TNT Sports after the game, Gvardiol revealed he did put his name forward but had no qualms with regular taker Alvarez stepping up.

“Another two goals for me and of course another clean sheet, so I’m really happy,” he said.

“We discussed me taking the penalty, and of course I said I would have liked to take it, but we know who the taker is, and he takes them.”

After not scoring in any of his first 32 appearances for City across all competitions, Gvardiol has now netted five goals in his last seven games for the club.

None of his five goals have been scored with his favoured left foot, with four coming from his right and one via his head.

Asked what he put his hot streak down to, he added: “Nothing different, I think that is just normal in sports.

“Currently I am in good form and the end of the season is coming, we have three more finals and we’ve got to be ready. We just need to be focused on ourselves and keep going in that way.

Fulham only managed one shot in a flat performance, recording six touches in their opponents’ area to City’s 38.

Their hopes of a top-half finish are now officially over, but Silva is proud of their efforts this term, saying: “It was a successful season with the context of what happened in the summer.

“We had to rebuild and we did it really well. We did not have the power of the other teams but it was a success. Now is the moment to sit with the board and discuss what the possibilities are.

“If we want to take a step forward, we need to be clear and find out what the steps are in the market and go from there.”

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