Sergio Aguero’s hattrick puts Pep Guardiola’s slick City top of Premier League

Manchester City's Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring their fifth goal and his third to complete his hattrick during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Huddersfield Town. (AFP)
Updated 19 August 2018

Sergio Aguero’s hattrick puts Pep Guardiola’s slick City top of Premier League

MANCHESTER: Sergio Aguero scored a hat trick, with one of the goals set up by his own goalkeeper, as Manchester City turned on the style in a 6-1 thrashing of Huddersfield to claim top spot in the Premier League on Sunday.
High up on the highlight reel in the latest exhibition by City was a 70-meter pass from goalkeeper Ederson Moraes from his own penalty area that found Aguero running behind Huddersfield’s high line.
Aguero cut inside and chipped Huddersfield’s stranded ‘keeper Ben Hamer, setting City on its way to its second straight win to open the season. With eight goals already, it’s an ominous start by the defending champions.
City’s other scorers were Gabriel Jesus, who started up front alongside Aguero in a 3-5-2 formation, and long-serving playmaker David Silva, who curled in a delightful free kick. A miserable afternoon at Etihad Stadium for Huddersfield was wrapped up by Terence Kongolo’s 84th-minute own-goal.
It was Aguero’s ninth Premier League hat trick, bettered only by Alan Shearer’s 11. City began their title defense by beating Arsenal 2-0 away last weekend, and Pep Guardiola’s men are already looking ominous as they seek to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since their cross-city rivals United managed three in a row between 2006 and 2009.
Guardiola’s side are top already having scored eight goals in two games, conceding just one. Huddersfield, meanwhile, drop to the bottom of the standings on goal difference.


Neymar limps off as Brazil draw with Nigeria

Updated 14 October 2019

Neymar limps off as Brazil draw with Nigeria

  • The 27-year-old’s return to Champions League action may now be delayed

SINGAPORE: Neymar limped off injured early on as Brazil played out a 1-1 friendly draw against a spirited Nigeria at the Singapore National Stadium on Sunday.

The five-time world champions fell behind in the first half, but Casemiro's equalizer early in the second period prevented a loss but then  Brazil were unable to leave Southeast Asia with a victory by wasting chances, after also being held by Senegal on Thursday.

Brazil started well, with Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino firing just wide in the third minute after a smart turn near the penalty spot.

However, Brazil were dealt a major blow when Neymar limped off in the 12th minute with what appeared to be a left thigh problem — the Paris Saint-Germain striker replaced by Bayern Munich’s Philippe Coutinho to bring a premature end to his 101st international appearance.

Neymar's return to Champions League action may now be delayed, with PSG facing Club Brugge on Oct. 22 after the world’s most expensive player missed the first two games through suspension.

“During the match he felt a muscle injury, so I took him off as a precaution,” Brazil coach Tite said.

“Neymar did not have a muscle issue before the match. I would never start a player if they had a hint of a problem like this, I would never pay that price,” Tite added of the 27-year-old, who has suffered a string of injuries since his move from Barcelona to PSG in 2017.

“My career has taught me that I would never use a player if he was not in condition to play. It would be irresponsible of me to risk a player carrying an injury.”

Neymar will be disappointed he was unable to draw level with Brazil legend Ronaldo, who sits second in the country’s all-time scoring list behind Pele, on 62 international goals this week. But Nigeria provided resolute opposition by working hard to prevent the South Americans from forging many clear openings.

Gabriel Jesus, Firmino and Coutinho all went close for Brazil, but it was Nigeria who took the lead in the 35th minute when Joe Aribo burst through a gap in the South Americans' defence and skipped around Marquinhos before firing low past goalkeeper Ederson from close range.

The smart strike was the English-born player's second goal in two appearance for Nigeria after the Rangers midfielder scored on his debut against Ukraine last month.

A more determined Brazil needed just three minutes after the interval to draw level, however, as Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro slotted home after a Marquinhos header had rattled the crossbar following a well-worked corner.

Brazil ramped up the pressure as the match progressed, stretching the Nigeria defence with sharp passing and clever movement as Casemiro, Jesus and half-time substitute Richarlison all came close to giving their side the lead.

Tite's men poured forward in search of a winner with Coutinho guilty of wasting a glorious opportunity with five minutes remaining when the unmarked midfielder's weak effort was cleared off the line by Semi Ajayi.

"I thought it was a good match for us and we created plenty of chances but just could not get that second goal," Tite added. "We definitely missed Neymar's creativity after he went off."