Manchester City edge out Newcastle United in a thrilling game at St James’ Park, thanks to a stunning hat-trick from Torres, despite Newcastle taking the lead twice.
The result was rather immaterial but romantic for City that it ended this way, really.
Ferran Torres left with a hat-trick, Newcastle again seemed surprisingly dangerous in attacking areas, and if Pep Guardiola was thinking many of his supporting cast could force a way into the Champions League reckoning, he may think again.
City were nowhere near their best but have not been in the league for some time, while Newcastle offered far more fight than we have witnessed in this fixture in recent times. Guardiola’s team selection suggested this would be fun – a surprise debut for Scott Carson – and so it proved.
It was 2-2 at the break, but both teams came out fighting in the second half, with Newcastle winning a second penalty, which Willock saw saved by Carson, but he converted the rebound to make it 3-2.
However, Torres levelled the game just two minutes later, before getting his third and City’s fourth shortly after with an excellent volley to make it 4-3 and that’s how it finished.
Carson’s bow actually came a year later than planned. The veteran was fiddling with his shinpads during the final game of last season, ready to replace Ederson as City pummelled Norwich City.
Ederson only started because he required a clean sheet to secure the Golden Glove but Norwich scored and so Carson was gathering himself to enter as a substitute. Sadly for him, VAR intervened, ruled the goal out and so he sat back down.
It is 10 months since that day and 10 years since his last Premier League appearance, coincidentally also in this stadium for West Brom.
Carson, on loan from Derby, is a well-liked member of Guardiola’s squad and will receive a winners’ medal despite not reaching five appearances this season. City get a few extra to play with.
Carson’s first involvement, to collect a routine catch, was cheered raucously by Guardiola’s bench.
His second, on 25 minutes, was to collect it from his net.
They were not cheering then and Carson had those in front of him to blame.
Jonjo Shelvey’s corner was drifted into a dangerous area but appeared easy enough to deal with, yet Emil Krafth nestled between Nathan Ake and Joao Cancelo and headed past City’s stand-in.
But the City reserves looked just that, undone again by a long ball in a sequence that ended with Ake slipping in his own box and colliding with Joelinton.
After a long VAR review, Kevin Friend gave a penalty and Carson had no chance as Joelinton rattled past him.
City have not really been at it recently and rather stumbled over the line in a title race they were always going to win.
Two defeats from four before this and eyes have been firmly fixed elsewhere, with the Champions League final on the horizon.
Willock was increasingly dangerous, nipping beyond Garcia and drawing a trailing leg by Kyle Walker. Over he went, another penalty with half an hour left.
Joelinton stepped aside for the on-loan Willock, whose penalty was saved by Carson before he turned in the rebound for a fifth in five games.
Newcastle were shellshocked moments later though, Jesus driving down the right hand side and Torres was there again to stab home.
Torres had his third on 66 minutes in a sequence hard to keep track of. Cancelo thundered a post from distance but there he was again, volleying in as it popped back out. Bell would have been proud of that.
This win moves City 13 points clear at the top of the table and gets them back to winning ways.
They face Brighton and Hove Albion next time out. Meanwhile Newcastle remain 16th and they’ll face Sheffield United next week.