London: Belgian winger Kevin De Bruyne scored once and created two goals as Manchester City overcame Southampton 3-1 on Saturday to provisionally reclaim first place in the EPL table.
Manchester City players Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne (all in blue) celebrate a goal against Southampton during their EPL match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Saturday. Pic/AFP
De Bruyne scored for the first time in six games to put City ahead went on to create goals for Fabian Delph and Aleksandar Kolarov, with Shane Long replying for Southampton. But victory came at the cost of an injury to Sergio Aguero, who hobbled off in the second half, and both Leicester City and Manchester United will have designs on supplanting City when they meet later on Saturday.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini had seen his side dismantled 4-1 by Liverpool on their previous outing and he was forced to do without injured goalkeeper Joe Hart, who was replaced by Willy Caballero. But the hosts went in front in the ninth minute when Raheem Sterling robbed Maya Yoshida and crossed for De Bruyne to tap home from close range.
De Bruyne's corner in the 20th minute allowed Delph to crown his first league start for City with his first goal for the club, a 25-yard shot that deflected in off Virgil van Dijk.
Long reduced the arrears with a header from a Sadio Mane's cross early in the second half, but Kolarov restored City's two-goal cushion by lashing in from De Bruyne's dinked cross in the 70th minute. Aguero had departed by that stage, having turned his ankle as he landed after challenging for a high ball, but on the plus side City were able to welcome back both Wilfried Bony and David Silva from injury. City moved a point above Leicester.