Sergio Aguero scored a remarkable four goals today to lead Manchester City past Tottenham Hotspur 4-1. Aguero slotted in two penalties and swept home two from open play in an eventful match that saw ref Jonathan Moss point to the spot four times.
Aguero became just the second City man to score four goals in a game, joining Edin Dzeko on that mark. Ironically, both men’s four-goal games came against Spurs. Aguero also became City’s all-time leading scorer in the Premier League, passing Carlos Tevez. When it was all said and done, Aguero would end up with 61 league goals in a City shirt and is now tied with Diego Costa on nine goals so far this season for a share of the Prem’s golden boot.
He could have had more: Aguero also missed a penalty. That was better than Spurs, mind you: Tottenham’s Roberto Soldado had a penalty saved and Spurs saw Federico Fazio ejected with just over twenty minutes to play after he barreled over Aguero to deny a clear goal.
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With the win, City closed the gap atop the table to two points, but Chelsea can open that gap back up to five with a win at London rivals Crystal Palace later on Saturday.
For an hour, before City totally cracked this game open, it was an open and enthralling encounter. Both teams emphasized their firepower at the expense of their defenses – something that would ultimately cost Spurs dearly. Fazio and Younes Kaboul had few answers for Aguero – both men would concede penalties – and Erik Lamela was continually put into desperate positions under pressure.
The scoring started when Lamela coughed the ball up 14 minutes in to allow Frank Lampard to slot the ball out wide left to a lurking Aguero, just inside the area. With a step to create space, Aguero then lashed a right-footed shot through traffic and past a helpless Hugo Lloris to the far corner.
Christian Eriksen was able to craft an immediate answer for City’s opener, scoring just a minute later. Ryan Mason made Fernando pay for a bit of laziness in possession, chopping the ball up to Roberto Soldado for a slick outlet that Eriksen blew in off Joe Hart’s boot, then off the bar, and finally into the back of the net.
Unfortunately, Lamela would then concede a cheap and somewhat harsh penalty just four minutes later when he shoved Lampard over in the area to allow Aguero his first goal today from the spot.
From there the game became a contest between Aguero and Lloris, with the keeper finally getting on top of the situation. Kaboul – a mess all match long – would concede another penalty, but this time, the French goalie was able to stop Aguero’s attempt. He would also stop the striker on a clean breakaway, and make a fine save on Jesus Navas to keep Spurs in the game by the skin of their teeth.
Hart was also kept busy with Mason forcing a solid stop out of the England number one with a fizzing drive from 25 yards that the keeper was forced to parry away.
The second half degenerated into a more stuttering encounter as both teams began to concede possession cheaply, perhaps suffering a hangover from the international break. The turning point came when Martin Demichelis was incorrectly judged to have fouled Soldado inside the area, giving Tottenham a penalty with 25 minutes to play. But Soldado, who has endured a dreadful spell in England, scuffed his attempt right to Hart for an easy save. He would try to make amends minutes later, sweeping a cross from Danny Rose in that Hart had to kick away, but it was too little too late.
Fazio would then pull back Aguero after he and Kaboul failed to deal with an incisive ball in by Navas, and Kun would not miss again from the spot, putting the ball right past Lloris to ensure the full share of the points. And Aguero then capped the encounter by burying a shot to the far corner via a slight touch off a luckless Jan Vertonghen to nick his fourth of the night.
City’s glee will be tempered somewhat as New York City FC loanee Frank Lampard was taken off with what appeared to be a serious thigh injury after 27 minutes. His condition was not immediately known.
City next travel to Russia to face CSKA Moscow on Tuesday in a tricky fixture; then must recover to play West Ham in London next Saturday. Spurs have an unwelcome Thursday home fixture in the Europa League against Asteras Tripolis before a Sunday game against Newcastle.