Man City on a roll
Sergio Aguero scored his second European hat-trick of the season as Manchester City strolled to a 4-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.
Aguero scored a goal in each half in open play and sandwiched those strikes with a penalty after a foul on debutant Ilkay Gundogan.
Kelechi Iheanacho added a fourth when he hammered home a pass from substitute Leroy Sane, who skipped around two tired challenges before teeing up the 19-year-old in the final minute.
Monchengladbach did not provide a particularly stern test for City as Pep Guardiola’s side provided yet another illustration of the effectiveness of their possession-based game.
Aguero was the star performer and has nine goals to his name this season.
But his supporting cast – and notably left-winger Raheem Sterling – were again in irresistible form as City recorded a seventh straight win.
Aguero’s first goal was a result of his superb movement, the Argentina striker appearing at the front post to divert home Kolarov’s precise cross with an emphatic finish.
Three minutes later, the goalscorer very nearly turned provider for debutant Gundogan, passing on Kevin De Bruyne’s ball to the former Dortmund man, whose fierce shot was turned away by Yann Sommer.
Aguero then felt he should have had a penalty when he went to ground in a tangled heap with Tobias Strobl as both attacked a corner.
He did not have to wait long for his chance from 12 yards, although there was some debate among the visiting players over whether Gundogan had his ankles clipped inside or outside of the penalty area.
Aguero, impervious to such appeals, sent Sommer the wrong way to double his goal count and City’s advantage.
Monchengladbach’s best moment came at the end of the first half, when Claudio Bravo repelled a low Lars Stindl shot with a firm left hand.
Aguero might have completed his hat-trick with Sommer making two good saves, but he was powerless to prevent what seemed to be the inevitable 13 minutes from time when the striker was set free by Sterling before producing the calmest of finishes.
He made way for Iheanacho 10 minutes from time and the youngster, who has proved to be a more than capable deputy during Aguero’s domestic suspension, helped himself to a goal in the final minute of the match.
The result never looked in doubt from the moment Aguero opened the scoring after nine minutes and while tougher tests will await City in this competition – notably the small matter of Barcelona next month – this was another Guardiola-shaped statement of intent at the Etihad.
Meanwhile Leicester City cruised to a debut victory in the Champions League as they beat Club Brugge 3-0 at the Jan Breydel Stadium.
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri made two changes from Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, handing a debut to club-record signing Islam Slimani, but it was a familiar face in Marc Albrighton who gave the champions of England a dream start in Bruges.
The former Aston Villa midfielder ghosted in unmarked at the back post inside five minutes to volley home Luis Hernandez’s long throw before Riyad Mahrez doubled Leicester’s lead just shy of the half-hour mark with a sublime free-kick from the edge of the box.
Mahrez then helped himself to a second from the penalty spot 16 minutes after the break, converting after Jamie Vardy had been upended in the box by Brugge goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle to ensure Leicester took all three points back to the East Midlands.
Other results today: Tottenham 1, Monaco 2; Real Madrid 2, Sporting Lisbon 1; Lyon 3, Dinamo Zagreb 0; Legia Warsaw 0, Borussia Dortmund 6; Juventus 0, Sevilla 0; FC Porto 1, FC Copenhagen; Leverkusen 2, CSKA Moscow 2.