Aguero's hat-trick gives Manchester City thrilling win over Bayern

AP, Tuesday 25 Nov 2014

Sergio Aguero
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero celebrates after scoring a goal on penalty against Bayern Munich (Photo: Reuters)

Sergio Aguero scored a hat trick — including two late goals — to inspire Manchester City to a 3-2 win over 10-man Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday, reviving the English champions' chances of reaching the knockout stage.

Aguero, who put City ahead with a 21st-minute penalty that led to the sending-off of defender Mehdi Benatia, consigned Bayern to a first competitive loss this season by capitalizing on defensive errors to score again in the 85th and then in the first minute of stoppage time.

City is tied on five points with Roma and CSKA Moscow in Group E, seven behind already-qualified Bayern. Heading into the final round of group games, City needs to better CSKA's result at Bayern and improve its head-to-head against Roma — either beating the Italian side or achieving a higher-scoring draw than 1-1.

"This team never knows it is beaten," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. "I am sure that this kind of victory gives a lot of trust to the whole squad."

Bayern fielded a weakened team with progress assured and belied its numerical inferiority by coming from behind to lead at Etihad Stadium, with Xabi Alonso and Robert Lewandowski scoring in the final five minutes of the first half.

Somehow, despite picking up just two points from its first four group matches, City can still qualify for the last 16. Its chances would have been very slim without Aguero's late intervention at the same end of Etihad Stadium where the Argentina striker won the Premier League title for City with an injury-time goal on the last day of the 2011-12 season.

"We gave them the game," Bayern coach Pep Guardiola said. "They had hardly any chances with 11 against 10 ... we were tired in the last 10 minutes."

Bayern toyed with City in a 3-1 win here in last season's group stage and it was the same 13 months on — even with playing with 10 men for 70 minutes. Indeed, with Alonso — on his 33rd birthday — running the game from the base of Bayern's midfield, it was hard to know which team was a player short at times.

Yet it was Alonso's mistake with five minutes left that was a turning point. His slack pass was intercepted by Stevan Jovetic and Aguero ran onto the loose ball before slotting a left-foot finish in the corner.

Less than six minutes later, Aguero pounced on a poor touch from Bayern defender Jerome Boateng to run through and shoot low past Manuel Neuer for the winner.

Earlier, Benatia fouled Aguero, as last man, to earn a straight red card in the 20th minute.

The Argentina striker powerfully sent his penalty into the corner, with Neuer guessing the correct direction, but Alonso's free kick and Lewandowski's header gave Bayern a deserved halftime lead.

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