A Sergio Aguero-inspired Manchester City sprinted to a phenomenal start to their Champions League Group Stage as the Argentine fired a hat-trick to lead City to a 4-0 win against Borussia Monchengladbach.
2 – Sergio Aguero is the first non-English player to score two Champions League hat-tricks for an English club side. Hero.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 14, 2016
In an combative 4-3-3 shape, the home side were always flexible and manager Pep Guardiola barked instructions to his troops, demanding them to press with high intensity throughout.
— SiriusXM FC (@SiriusXMFC) September 15, 2016
The 5-foot-7-inch Argentine striker took just eight minutes to give his team the lead as he turned home a low Raheem Sterling cross.
Raheem Sterling has now been directly involved in 6 goals in 6 games this season (2G & 4A).
Great start under Pep. pic.twitter.com/AZv3hY6CM5
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 14, 2016
Making his Manchester City debut, Ilkay Gundogan almost added a second just moments after the opener but Yann Sommer saved smartly at his near post.
Playing in a central midfield role, the German international capped a man of the match performance by winning a penalty which Aguero tucked away in the 28th minute in front of the 32,000 in attendance, a figure hit drastically by the disappointment of the game being postponed 24 hours earlier due to the monsoon-like storm that hit Manchester.
Pep was up to all his usual tricks on the sideline, frantically gesturing to John Stones to carry the ball and screaming at Pablo Zabaleta to drift centrally from the right to vacate the flank for Nicolas Otamendi to operate as an outlet for Stones and Claudio Bravo in particular as the Chilean goalkeeper was flawless all evening, completing every pass attempted and architecting multiple attacks in doing so.
Fernandinho was retreating into deep central areas, allowing Kevin De Bruyne and Gundogan the license to join up with the front three of Sterling, Aguero and Jesus Navas. The German visitors struggled for air as the Sky Blues suffocated them with their pressing approach.
But for Sommer in goal, the encounter would have been well and truly put to bed as Guardiola’s side fired 23 attempts at goal against opposition which finished fourth in last season’s Bundesliga. The Swiss stopper made glorious saves on countless occasions, but could only watch on from the seat of his shorts as Aguero rounded him to slide home his hat-trick following a perfectly weighted throughball from Sterling after breath-taking combination play down the left.
Aguero has scored seven Champions League goals against German sides, more than against any other nation in the competition, making him only the third player to score two hat-tricks for English clubs in the Champions League (after Michael Owen and Andy Cole).
Leroy Sane was introduced for his home debut alongside Kelechi Iheanacho and the two substitutes combined after the Nigerian striker drove the ball home from close-range in injury time after fine work from his German strike-partner.
Iheanacho has scored 16 goals in just 1351 minutes of action in all competitions for Manchester City – averaging a goal every 84.4 minutes. Impressive stuff from the 19-year-old.
Guardiola has become the first City manager in history to win his first 7 games in charge and after the game, the Catalan said “It was the most dominant performance of my time here, considering the importance of the game.”
City will look to remain top of the Premier League when they host Bournemouth on Saturday. Their next Champions League outing will be on 28 September at Celtic, who were hammered 7-0 by Barcelona on Tuesday.