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Man City begin title defence with easy win

Man City begin title defence with easy win
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling attempts to pass the ball while being put under pressure by West Ham’s Declan Rice during an EPL match on Saturday.
London, Aug 10 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 8/10/2019 12:16:51 PM IST

Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick as Manchester City got their title defence up and running in style with a 5-0 win at West Ham, in a game where VAR made its first impact in the Premier League.

City’s new No 9 Gabriel Jesus showed deadly instinct to open the scoring with a near-post touch from Kyle Walker’s fine work down the right (25), and the champions were 2-0 up shortly after half-time through Sterling’s tidy finish (51).

The season’s first major VAR call came minutes later as Jesus’ tap-in was ruled out by a marginal offside call on Sterling (53), but after another tight VAR call, Sterling grabbed his second and City’s third, lobbing Lukasz Fabianski inside the box (75).

Sub Sergio Aguero then netted City’s fourth from the spot (86) at the second attempt after VAR ruled for a retake for his initial missed penalty due to encroachment, before Sterling wrapped up his hat-trick in stoppage time (90+2).

Just hours after Liverpool’s 4-1 win over Norwich on Friday night, City were at their blistering best.

It started slowly, but the champions eventually moved through the gears at London Stadium. Riyad Mahrez forced Lukasz Fabianski into a fine low save with a 20-yard effort, before hitting the side-netting from 12 yards after superbly turning onto his left foot.

With Aguero on the bench, Jesus took his chance well for the opener, but it all came from Walker’s pace. Overlapping on the right, Walker centred for Jesus, who neatly found the net at the near post after a slight touch off Issa Diop.

City got their two-goal cushion after the break as Kevin De Bruyne fed Sterling through on goal, prompting a low finish under Fabianski from inside the box.

The visitors thought they’d grabbed a third just two minutes later as Sterling squared for Jesus to simply tap home, but the VAR showed Sterling was offside from David Silva’s initial pass by a matter of millimetres.

Ederson made a fine double save - first from Chicharito and then from Michail Antonio at close range - to prevent a nervy finish, and City piled on as Sterling’s side-footed dink over Fabianski made it 3-0. VAR briefly intervened, looking at Mahrez’s fine through ball over the defence, but Sterling was this time onside by millimetres.

Issa Diop’s clumsy foul on Mahrez in the box allowed City a chance to grab a fourth; Sterling wanted it, but sub Aguero stepped up, only to see his penalty saved by Fabianski. But after another VAR review adjudged that Declan Rice, who got to the ball to clear after the save, had encroached, it was retaken, allowing Aguero to score.

Sterling got his hat-trick in the final seconds, however, converting while one-on-one again from Mahrez’s rolled through ball. Anything Liverpool can do, City can do better, was the clear message as City showed no signs of complacency in their hunt for a third straight title.

Match results

Crystal Palace 0 – 0 Everton

Burnley 3 – 0 Southampton

Watford 0 – 3 Brighton

Bournemouth 1 – 1 Sheff Utd

Liverpool pound Norwich in PL opener
Liverpool began the 2019-2020 Premier League season with the same quality and intensity that brought them to within a point of the title in the last campaign, punishing newly promoted Norwich City 4-1.
The Champions League holders needed less than 30 minutes to build a 3-0 lead on Friday.
Norwich, making their return to the top-flight after three seasons in the second division, had the bad luck to go behind 1-0 in the 7th minute on an own goal by team captain Grant Hanley. Twelve minutes later, Mohamed Salah, who shared the 2018-2019 Premier League Golden Boot with teammate Sadio Mane and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, beat Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul with an assist from Roberto Firmino.
Virgil van Dijk made it 3-0 for Liverpool in the 28th minute, heading-in a Salah corner.
Origi, the instigator of the first goal, scored one on his own account in the 42nd minute, getting his head to a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold.
But it wasn’t all good news for Liverpool in the first half, as keeper Alisson Becker had to helped off the field in the 39th minute.
Replacing the Brazilian was Adrian San Miguel, who only joined the Merseyside club from West Ham United a few days ago.
Liverpool’s performance slipped after the break, while the visitors improved, but while Finnish striker Teemu Pukki put Norwich on the scoreboard in the 64th minute, the outcome was never in doubt.

-Tags:#Man City

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