Álvaro Negredo scored a hat-trick as Manchester City FC secured their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League for the first time thanks to a comprehensive victory against PFC CSKA Moskva.
City seized control of the game after three minutes through Sergio Agüero's penalty and by the half-hour it was 3-0 as the Argentinian, with his second, and Negredo found the net. Although Seydou Doumbia pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time, Negredo's second after 51 minutes ended any doubt. A Doumbia penalty reduced the deficit again before Negredo completed his treble with a stoppage-time header from James Milner's cross.
For City, the memory of their two previous disappointing UEFA Champions League campaigns vanished into the Manchester night and they can now look ahead to the knockout stages when – as manager Manuel Pellegrini noted in the match programme – "anything can happen". This second win over CSKA in a fortnight leaves them six points above the Russian side and the only plus for Leonid Slutski's men is that FC Bayern München's victory at point-less FC Viktoria Plzeň at least keeps them third in Group D.
CSKA had needed a positive result to stay within reach of City but made the worst possible start as David Silva went down under Zoran Tošić's ill-timed challenge and Agüero placed his spot kick just too high for Igor Akinfeev, who had guessed the right way.
Agüero underlined his supreme confidence when he turned away from Sergei Ignashevich before finding the far corner expertly to make it 2-0 and, in the process, become City's record scorer in Europe. The forward has nine goals from his last six appearances and is showing signs of a fruitful partnership with Negredo. The pair combined for the third as Agüero won the ball in midfield, exchanged passes with the Spaniard and then crossed for him to tap in.
At that point CSKA must have rued Doumbia's early miss – the Ivorian getting behind the home defence but firing over with the deficit at just a single goal. They gained a glimmer of hope when the attacker did find the net in first-half added time. Sent clear by Pontus Wernbloom, he rounded Costel Pantilimon, making his European debut for City in place of Joe Hart, to score.
Yet CSKA's faint hope was extinguished soon after the restart when Yaya Touré scooped a ball over the back line for Nasri to beat the offside trap and square for Negredo to notch his second. The small band of noisy CSKA fans saw Doumbia, upended by Gaël Clichy in the City box, send Pantilimon the wrong way from the penalty spot but it was Negredo who rounded off the scoring as Pellegrini's team marched into the last 16 with two games to spare.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.