Erling Haaland’s record-equalling brace helped Manchester City close the gap on Premier League leaders Arsenal. Aston Villa and Brighton boosted their chances of playing European football next season with wins over Newcastle United and Chelsea respectively.
Holger Rune mounted a superb comeback win over Jannik Sinner to set up a title showdown against Andre Rublev in Monte Carlo.
The USA, France, Czech Republic, Spain, Kazakhstan, Germany and Italy progressed to the finals of the Billie Jean King Cup on Saturday.
Skipper Babar Azam’s ton and Haris Rauf’s four-wicket haul helped Pakistan notch a comfortable win in the second T20I against New Zealand.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 16 April, 2023:
City close gap on leaders Arsenal
Erling Haaland equalled the Premier League record for goals in a 38-game season on Saturday as Manchester City closed the gap on leaders Arsenal to just three points after a day of drama in the top-four race.
The Norway forward netted twice in the first half of City’s 3-1 win over relegation-threatened Leicester to reach 32 goals – the same as Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah’s tally in 2017/18.
John Stones opened the scoring at the Etihad Stadium before a goal from the penalty spot and a clever dinked finish from Haaland.
Pep Guardiola substituted the 22-year-old at half-time, denying him the chance to hunt down the overall single-season record of 34 goals in the Premier League era – set in the days of 42 games per side.
Leicester, with Dean Smith in charge for the first time, pulled a goal back in the second half through Kelechi Iheanacho but they slumped to a fourth straight defeat and remain second from bottom of the table.
City, chasing a fifth Premier League title in six years, are on 70 points, three behind Arsenal with eight games to go – the Gunners play West Ham on Sunday.
The two teams meet at the Etihad on April 26 in a potential title-decider – City’s next league fixture.
Aston Villa put themselves in the mix for a top-four finish by beating Newcastle 3-0 for a fifth straight league win as Tottenham also lost.
Villa are still six points off the top four, but are in red-hot form after a seventh win in eight games.
Ollie Watkins, who has now scored 11 goals in 12 matches, netted twice after Jacob Ramsey had fired Unai Emery’s men into an early lead.
With Manchester United not in action until Sunday, at Nottingham Forest, Tottenham had the chance to move into the top four but blew it as Bournemouth took a potentially decisive step towards survival with a 3-2 win.
Son Heung-min fired Spurs into an early lead, but the Cherries hit back with goals from Matias Vina and Dominic Solanke.
Substitute Arnaut Danjuma looked to have salvaged a point for Spurs when he scored against his old club two minutes from time but Dango Ouattara curled home in the 95th minute to lift Bournemouth six points clear of the relegation zone.
Brighton boosted their chances of European football with a 2-1 win at Chelsea to prolong Frank Lampard’s wait for a first victory since returning to Stamford Bridge as interim manager.
Conor Gallagher opened the scoring for Chelsea but Danny Welbeck came off the bench to equalise just before half-time and Paraguayan teenager Julio Enciso won the game in spectacular style.
Crystal Palace and Wolves edged towards safety but it was a terrible day for Everton, who lost 3-1 at home to Fulham.
Bottom side Southampton look increasingly likely to be relegated after Eberechi Eze scored twice for Palace in a 2-0 win at St Mary’s to clinch a third consecutive victory for the Eagles since Roy Hodgson returned as manager.
Wolves are seven points clear of the drop zone after they beat Brentford 2-0 thanks to goals from Diego Costa and Hwang Hee-chan.
Everton remain outside the relegation zone only on goal difference after they were sunk by goals from Fulham’s Harrison Reed, Harry Wilson and Dan James.
Rune sets up Monte Carlo Masters final against Rublev
Danish teenager Holger Rune edged a thrilling clash with fellow rising star Jannik Sinner on Saturday to set up a Monte Carlo Masters final against Andrey Rublev.
The 19-year-old claimed a 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 win under floodlights after a rain-affected day in the principality.
Russian fifth seed Rublev saw off Taylor Fritz 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 in the first semi-final.
Rune continued his meteoric rise in the sport with another statement victory, having climbed into the world’s top 10 this season after a breakthrough 2022 which he capped off with the Paris Masters title, beating Novak Djokovic in the final.
Sinner dominated the opening set but was 3-0 down in the second when the players were forced off by the inclement weather.
Rune lost that advantage after the resumption but continued to put pressure on the Sinner serve and levelled the match in the 12th game on his fourth set point.
World number nine Rune saw five break points come and go in the third set as it stayed on serve for 11 games.
But he made the decisive move and secured a place in his second Masters final on his first match point as Sinner dumped a forehand into the net.
Earlier, Rublev also battled back from a set down to beat big-serving American Fritz and reach his second Monte Carlo final.
The 25-year-old is bidding to go one better than in 2021 when he lost the final to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Fritz is still waiting to reach his first ATP final on clay despite an excellent week.
Both players struggled on serve in a long opening set, but eighth seed Fritz grabbed the lead with a break in the 12th game.
Rublev raced through the second set to force a decider, which was halted by a long rain delay with the world number six 3-2 ahead on serve.
Rublev further upped his level following the restart with an immediate break.
He saw three match points pass him by in the eighth game but wrapped it up with a hold to love.
Rublev will be playing in his second final of the season, after losing to Daniil Medvedev in Rotterdam in March.
Results from the ATP Monte Carlo Masters on Saturday (x denotes seeding; players representing Russia and Belarus are banned from competing under the name or flag of their countries):
Holger Rune (DEN x6) bt Jannik Sinner (ITA x7) 1-6, 7-5, 7-5
Andrey Rublev (x5) bt Taylor Fritz (USA x8) 5-7, 6-1, 6-3
USA, France through to BJK Cup Finals
Jessica Pegula sealed victory for the United States over Austria on Saturday as the record 18-time champions secured their place in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.
World number three Pegula made quick work of Julia Grabher, winning 6-1, 6-3, to give the heavily favoured Americans an unassailable 3-0 lead over Austria in their tie in Delray Beach, Florida.
The Czech Republic saw off Ukraine 3-1, with Marketa Vondrousova earning the winning point against Katarina Zavatska 6-3, 6-4, after former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova lost 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to 38th-ranked Marta Kostyuk.
World number five Caroline Garcia sent France through with a 6-1, 6-7 (10/12), 6-1 win over Britain’s Harriet Dart in Coventry.
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina beat Poland’s Magda Linette to wrap up victory for Kazakhstan.
Nuria Parrizas Diaz secured Spain’s win over Mexico on clay in Marbella, breezing past 196th-ranked Marcela Zacarias 6-3, 6-0.
In Stuttgart, Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam made up for losing the hosts’ opening rubber by clinching the winning point with a 6-1, 6-0 thrashing of Brazil’s Laura Pigossi.
Italy got the better of Slovakia 3-2 as Martina Trevisan and Elisabetta Cocciaretto beat Viktoria Hruncakova and Tereza Mihalikova 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in the deciding doubles.
Bad weather interrupted Slovenia’s comeback bid against Romania with the teams level at 3-3 in the first set of the decisive doubles rubber.
Slovenia trailed 2-0 at home in Koper after Friday’s action but fought back as Tamara Zidansek and Kaja Juvan both won their matches.
Defending champions Switzerland and 2022 runners-up Australia received automatic qualification to the November 7-12 finals, which will feature four groups of three.
Azam, Rauf lead Pakistan to win
Skipper Babar Azam smashed a magnificent century while pace bowler Haris Rauf took four wickets as Pakistan beat New Zealand by 38 runs in the second T20 international in Lahore on Saturday.
Azam, who fell for just nine in his 100th T20I on Friday, compensated with a brisk 58-ball 101 not out to lift Pakistan to a solid 192-4 in their 20 overs.
Rauf, who took a career best 4-18 in Pakistan’s 88-run win in the series opener, finished with 4-27 to restrict New Zealand to 154-7.
Pakistan now lead the five-match series 2-0 with the last three matches in Lahore (April 17) and Rawalpindi (April 20 and 24).
“I am very happy to perform in this match,” said Azam, who is now the joint most successful T20I captain with 42 wins, alongside England’s Eoin Morgan and Afghanistan’s Asghar Afghan.
“I had two good partnerships and then our bowling was once again excellent. We have got experienced and exciting young bowlers who gave us back-to-back wins.”
Mark Chapman scored a battling 65 not out for New Zealand featuring four fours and as many sixes, but lost partners at regular intervals after the tourists made a decent start.
Chad Bowes (26) and skipper Tom Latham (19) put on 44 for the first wicket in 6.2 overs, but as the asking rate soared New Zealand’s chase lost steam.
“We have been there or thereabouts but weren’t able to finish the innings off, both with the ball and bat,” said Latham.
“When Babar plays like that, you tip your hat off.”
Only Chris Gayle of the West Indies has hit more hundreds in the format with 22, while India’s Rohit Sharma leads the T20I chart with four tons.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day