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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Pablo Zabaleta got a rousing send-off. Yaya Toure scored perhaps a farewell goal. Their team swept to a convincing win to virtually guarantee Champions League qualification.
It was a night that couldn’t get much better for Manchester City.
They beat West Bromwich Albion 3-1 on an emotionally charged night at Etihad Stadium to move up to third place in the English Premier League and ensure only a series of freak results will deny Pep Guardiola’s side a top-four finish.
Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne scored first-half goals in the space of less than two minutes before Toure, who is waiting to discover if he’ll be offered a new contract after seven years at the club, strolled through West Brom’s defense to stroke in a third goal that brought the home fans to their feet.
They were up again minutes later as Zabaleta, the popular Argentina right back who will leave City in the offseason after nine years, came on the 61st minute to a rip-roaring reception for his last home game.
“It was a perfect night, especially for Pablo,” Guardiola said. “When I see what I saw tonight, I see the impact he had for the club. To see women crying on the screen, it means a lot. He is a legend for the club.”
West Brom got a goal back in the 86th through Hal Robson-Kanu, the only negative for City.