Sergio Aguero rescued Manchester City on Tuesday, as the Citizens live to fight another day in the UEFA Champions League after a dramatic 3-2 win over Bayern Munich at the Etihad Stadium.
Aguero bagged a phenomenal hat trick as City now go into their final game in Group E knowing a win against AS Roma will likely seal their qualification into the last 16. Aguero put City 1-0 up from the penalty spot early on after Mehdi Benatia brought him down.
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Despite having Benatia sent off for taking down Aguero and giving away that PK, Pep Guardiola’s side recovered superbly and scored twice just before half time through Xabi Alonso and Robert Lewandowski to take a shock 2-1 lead.
For most of the second half City were frustrated by the Bavarians and looked to be heading to a damaging loss. However that man Aguero popped up to score the vital equalizer five minutes from time and then grabbed the winner to seal his hat trick in stoppage time.
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After their dramatic late win, the first in the UCL this season, City now know a win in Rome in two weeks time (plus any score draw) will seal their passage into the last 16 of the Champions League. Well, as long as CSKA Moscow don’t beat Bayern in Munich. Permutations galore…
The first major incident at the Etihad arrived after 21 minutes as Frank Lampard clipped a ball over the top which Aguero chased down and got beyond Benatia. As the Argentine ran in on goal, Benatia slid in recklessly to give away a penalty kick and got himself a straight red card. Aguero clinically slotted home the PK to put City 1-0 up and give them a huge advantage against the German giants.
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Going down to 10-men forced Guardiola into a defensive reshuffle which saw Dante come on, as City aimed to build on their early lead. Yet they failed to do that and paid the price five minutes before half time as Alonso equalized with a low free kick which Eliaquim Mangala conceded cheaply. It got worse right on the half time whistle as Bayern stunned City. Jerome Boateng whipped in a great ball which Lewandowski headed onto his own shoulder and the ball looped past Joe Hart to put the German side 2-1 up, despite being down a man.
In the second half City pushed hard to overturn the deficit but Bayern kept the ball well, as they always seem to do, and frustrated the Citizens and the home fans. Lampard had a shot tipped over by Manuel Neuer 20 minutes from time and Vincent Kompany went close but it looked like City were doomed to defeat.
Completely out of character, Alonso gave the ball straight to Aguero in the 85th minute and he raced towards goal and slotted home the all-important equalizer. But City weren’t content with drawing and Aguero took advantage of a slight error by Boateng in the 91st minute to roll home his and City’s third to set up a winner takes all clash in Rome on Dec. 10.
Manchester City: Hart, Sagna (Zabaleta, 68′), Kompany, Mangala, Clichy, Fernando, Navas, Lampard, Milner (Jovetic, 66′), Nasri, Aguero (Demichelis, 94′)
Goals: Aguero (21′, 85′, 90′)
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Alonso, Benatia, Ribery (Schweinsteiger, 81′), Lewandowski (Shaqiri , 84′), Robben, Rafinha, Boateng, Bernat, Rode (Dante, 25′), Hojbjerg
Goals: Alonso, (40′), Lewandowski (45′)