Aguero’s son, Maradona’s grandson, proud owner of record shirt

Manchester City’s Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League football match Napoli vs Manchester City on November 1, 2017 at the San Paolo stadium in Naples. (AFP)
Updated 02 November 2017

Aguero’s son, Maradona’s grandson, proud owner of record shirt

NAPLES, Italy: Sergio Aguero became Manchester City’s all-time record scorer and was described as “a legend” by coach Pep Guardiola whose side booked their place in the Champions League last 16 with a 4-2 win at Napoli.
The 29-year-old Argentine beat the old mark of 177 set by Eric Brook in the 1930s when he hit City’s third goal in Naples, then promised to give his shirt to his eight-year-old son Benjamin — the grandson of Argentina and Napoli legend Diego Maradona.
“This shirt is for my son, he texted me to say: “As soon as you score, bring me the shirt’,” said Aguero.
“I am bringing the shirt back to my son. My family called from Argentina, they were watching me.”
Aguero’s son was born from his marriage to Giannina Maradona, the daughter of Diego.
And Aguero achieved his new landmark at the San Paolo Stadium where Maradona made himself a Neapolitan icon between 1984 and 1991, winning two Serie A titles and the UEFA Cup.
“What he (Aguero) has achieved has made him a legend, he’s gone down in history, so I would tell him to enjoy,” said Guardiola.
Aguero paid tribute to his team-mates for his record 178 goals.
“I’m very happy for this moment and happy because the team help support me and the fans.
“I’ll enjoy this moment because it only happens once.
“Napoli are a good team and away always in the Champions League is difficult.”
The Premier League leaders had needed just a point to seal their berth in the knockout rounds for the fifth consecutive year, with two games to go.
But City’s fourth victory out of four in Group F confirmed their progress with 12 points.
Napoli are third, six points behind Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk who beat Dutch outfit Feyenoord 3-1, and are close to elimination from the elite European competition.
The new benchmark is just another for the man from Buenos Aires who joined City from Atletico Madrid in 2011 for £38 million, scoring two goals and assisting one on his debut against Swansea.
He currently has the best goals-to-minutes ratio in Premier League history — scoring 107 in 154 Premier League matches at a rate of a goal every 106 minutes.
City fought back despite a dominant early display from the Serie A leaders before they were damaged after defender Faouzi Ghoulam went off with a knee injury.
“They completely destroyed us in the first 20 minutes especially Ghoulam and I wish him well,” said Guardiola. “We suffered a lot but our players showed personality.
“The point is how in the bad moments the team react and they did really well. The level of football for a spectator was just amazing all I could say was ‘wow’.”
Lorenzo Insigne had opened for Napoli after 21 minutes with defender Nicolas Otamendi pulling City level on 35 minutes.
City’s John Stones edged the visitors ahead three minutes after the break. But to the delight of the home crowd Jorginho converted a penalty to make it 2-2 after 62 minutes.
Aguero then fired in the third seven minutes later after Leroy Sane broke forward. The ball eventually fell to the Argentine who scored his record-breaking goal before Raheem Sterling put the icing on the cake in injury time.
While many believe the emphatic triumph was a warning for the rest of Europe, Aguero said the win meant little for the rest of the season.
“Napoli is a good team,” he said. “Playing away in the Champions League is difficult.
“I am very happy to win and qualify. We must keep going in the same way, every game, playing the same way.
“(Tonight) it shows nothing. It is a long season.
“Now, we are good. We must continue the same way.”


Free-scoring Salzburg pose serious threat to leaky Liverpool

Updated 10 December 2019

Free-scoring Salzburg pose serious threat to leaky Liverpool

  • Injury-hit Reds have consistently leaked goals despite streaking clear at the top of Premier League

LONDON: Liverpool travel to Salzburg on Tuesday needing to avoid defeat to the confident Austrian champions to guard against an embarrassing Champions League group stage exit for the holders.

Jurgen Klopp's men are used to getting through to the knockout stages the hard way. In each of the past two seasons they have needed home wins to secure a place in the last 16 before going on to make the final.

However, the specter of a free-scoring Salzburg, led by the Champions League's top scorer in Erlin Braut Haaland spells trouble for an injury-hit Liverpool backline that has consistently leaked goals this season despite streaking clear at the top of the Premier League.

The Reds' recorded a first clean sheet in 14 games in Saturday's 3-0 win at Bournemouth, but lost another center back as Dejan Lovren limped off in the first half.

Should the Croatian miss the trip to Austria, Joe Gomez will be Klopp's only fit partner for Virgil van Dijk in central defense.

Van Dijk narrowly missed out to Lionel Messi in the battle for the Ballon d'Or last week in recognition of the transformative effect he has had on Liverpool's fortunes over the past two years.

But even the towering Dutchman has been incapable of stopping the steady flow of goals against in recent months.

Injuries have meant there has been a constant rotation of Lovren, Gomez and Joel Matip alongside Van Dijk, while the attacking impetus offered by fullbacks Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold leaves space in behind to be exploited.

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker also missed the first two months of the season due to a calf injury to further unsettle the backline.

The Brazilian is now back, but another injury to Fabinho has robbed the back four of the best player to protect them in the holding midfield role.

"I forgot how it feels, to be honest," said Klopp on finally ending the long wait for a clean sheet at the weekend.

"It's great, we should have them more often. It was the most-used word in the dressing room by the boys — "clean sheet, clean sheet, clean sheet."

"Obviously everybody was desperate for that, now we have it so let's have it more often.

"The next game where a clean sheet would be useful is already around the corner, against Salzburg on Tuesday."

That is easier said than done as Liverpool know from their first meeting with Jesse Marsch's men in October.

The hosts seemed to be cruising to another Anfield win in the Champions League as they raced into a 3-0 lead, but Salzburg hit back to level at 3-3 before Mohamed Salah's winner ensured Liverpool edged a seven-goal thriller.

Salzburg have scored 87 goals in 24 games in all competitions this season, 28 of which have come from Norwegian wonderkid Haaland in just 21 appearances.

The 19-year-old started on the bench when the sides met at Anfield due to injury, but came on to inspire the visitors' revival in the second half and scored one of his eight Champions League goals.

"He's not the only threat from Salzburg but he's a proper one," said Klopp of the danger posed by Haaland ahead of the sides' first clash.

Salzburg need to win to make the last 16 on their first appearance in the group stage in 25 years.

A point would be enough for Liverpool to progress, but they need to win to secure top spot in Group E ahead of Napoli.

Given Liverpool's paucity of clean sheets and Salzburg's thirst for goals, attack would appear to be the best form of defencse for the European champions.