Manchester City moved 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League after a dominant 1-0 win over Newcastle on Wednesday.
City were in complete control throughout at St James’ Park and should have secured their 18th straight league win by a more convincing scoreline.
Sergio Aguero hit the post twice and Kevin De Bruyne also struck the woodwork, but in the end Sterling’s 31st-minute finish was enough for all three points.
Newcastle had just 22 per cent possession and only threatened on a couple of occasions, with Rolando Aarons going closest when his chipped effort was headed off the line in the first half.
Dwight Gayle also headed wide late in the game, but otherwise Manchester City were untroubled as they moved a step closer to equalling the 19-game winning streak of Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in 2013/14, which is the record in Europe’s five major leagues.
City created chances from the start as Aguero volleyed against the post from close range and De Bruyne fired over from the edge of the box.
Such was City’s dominance that Gabriel Jesus came on after 11 minutes to replace defender Vincent Kompany, who looked to have suffered another injury.
Rob Elliot made a brilliant reaction save to tip over a header from Aguero, who shortly afterwards hit the post again with a strike from 25 yards. But Newcastle’s resistance was eventually broken when Sterling finished from De Bruyne’s excellent pass over the top.
Newcastle almost snatched a surprise equaliser as Nicolas Otamendi headed off the line from Aarons’ chipped shot, but City otherwise remained in control and Aguero and Sterling went close to a second goal.
Aguero and De Bruyne missed good chances at the start of the second half and the latter then fired against the post in the 66th minute.
City continued to dominate but were almost caught out in the final few minutes as substitute Gayle headed just past the post.