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Manchester City win as Sergio Aguero hits hat-trick despite spot of bother


Manchester City's Sergio Aguero after missing a penalty against Steaua Bucharest

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero after missing a penalty against Steaua Bucharest


Manchester City's Sergio Aguero after missing a penalty against Steaua Bucharest

Pep Guardiola was delighted to maintain his winning start as Manchester City manager as his side all but secured their place in the Champions League group stage with a 5-0 win over Steaua Bucharest.

Sergio Aguero missed two penalties in the first 20 minutes but rediscovered his scoring touch to bag a hat-trick with David Silva and Nolito also on target in the Romanian capital.

Guardiola again left goalkeeper Joe Hart on the bench, but saw his side dominate from start to finish as they eased to victory to leave Steaua with a seemingly impossible task in Manchester next week.

"We are almost in the Champions League and that was our target at the very beginning," Guardiola said.

"It was a great performance, we played really, really good. The result is amazing but the way we played, I'm so satisfied and it's a big compliment to these fantastic players.

"All the managers in the world want to create chances and concede few. We are there so now it's rest and focus on our coming games."

Aguero's missed penalties were the only blot on City's copy book, but team-mate Kevin de Bruyne was not overly concerned.

"We play a good game and it's a really good advantage for next week," said the Belgian.

"In the end he scored three goals, so what can you do? If you score three goals nobody will complain about the penalties."

Argentinian Aguero registered with a fine finish before the break and struck twice more in the second half, while Silva and Nolito were also on target.

Nolito had already hit the crossbar with a 12-yard volley before Aguero's first penalty was saved by home goalkeeper Florin Nita in the eighth minute after Raheem Sterling had been brought down in the box.

Sterling then set up Silva for the opening goal in the 13th minute before City were awarded a second spot-kick for Jugurtha Hamroun's 21st-minute challenge on Pablo Zabaleta and this time Aguero blazed his effort over the crossbar.

Nita pushed Sterling's effort on to the woodwork five minutes before the break but could do nothing to prevent Aguero making amends with a fine finish from the edge of the area for City's second in the 41st minute.

City were out of sight four minutes after the restart when Nolito rounded Nita to score and Aguero applied another clinical finish in the 78th minute after a fine passing move and completed his hat-trick off the post in the 89th minute.

Meanwhile, Ajax will head to Russia for their second leg all square after being held 1-1 by Rostov in Amsterdam.

Rostov stunned the home side when taking an early lead through midfielder Christian Noboa's 13th-minute free-kick, but Ajax responded before the break through Davy Klaassen's 38th-minute penalty for Cesar Navas' foul on Riechedly Bazoer.

Dinamo Zagreb were also held 1-1 at home by Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg.

Valentino Lazaro headed Salzburg into a 59th-minute lead and the Croatian side were rescued by Marko Rog's 76th-minute penalty after he had been fouled by Bernardo.

FC Copenhagen will defend a slender 1-0 lead in the return leg in Cyprus after beating Apoel Nicosia 1-0 thanks to Andrija Pavlovic's angled drive.

Borussia Monchengladbach are in the box seat in their tie against Young Boys following a 3-1 win in Bern.

STEAUA BUCHAREST: Nita, Enache, Tamas, Tosca, Momcilovic, Achim (Bourceanu 45), Muniru (Popescu 67), Popa, Stanciu, Hamroun, Golubovic (Tudorie 45)

Subs not used: Mitrea, Cojocaru, Aganovic

MAN CITY: Caballero, Zabaleta (Sagna 70), Otamendi, Stones, Kolarov (Clichy 75), Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, De Bruyne (Fernando 79), Nolito, Aguero. Subs not used: Hart, Navas, Delph, Iheanacho

Belfast Telegraph