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City set fair to progress after Steaua stroll

Steaua 0-5 Manchester City
Josep Guardiola's side placed one foot into the group stage with a play-off first-leg win boosted by a Sergio Agüero hat-trick.

Watch Agüero miss two penalties then score a hat-trick
  • Manchester City overwhelm Steaua and have group stage firmly in grasp
  • Sergio Agüero misses two penalties but scores three goals, with two late in second half
  • David Silva gives City early advantage after fine work from Raheem Sterling
  • Nolito nets third soon after half-time before Agüero seals resounding win
  • Steaua keeper Florin Niță is standout player for hosts despite conceding five
  • Key player: Sergio Agüero (Manchester City)

Sergio Agüero helped himself to a hat-trick as Manchester City made light work of Steaua Bucureşti in the clubs' UEFA Champions League play-off first leg.

The Romanian side found themselves on the receiving end at the Arena Națională as Agüero made amends for two early penalty misses by scoring a treble. The Argentinian's exploits capped a City performance notable also for outstanding contributions from David Silva and Nolito, the Spanish duo who scored either side of Agüero's 41st-minute first, as well as Raheem Sterling.

City celebrate their success after the final whistle
City celebrate their success after the final whistle©AFP/Getty Images

Despite Nicolae Stanciu's initial near-miss, Laurenţiu Reghecampf's willing team were outclassed on the night, with goalkeeper Florin Niță and the woodwork sparing them further punishment.

Jugurtha Hamroun was unable to convert the hosts' best chance and it already looks beyond doubt which of these sides will be competing in the group stage come September. Not a bad way for Josep Guardiola to mark his European debut as City boss.

Reporter's view: Paul-Daniel Zaharia
It was obvious from reading the line-ups that City had the attacking class, whereas Steaua – despite fielding four offensive players – had just one comparable top-quality forward in Stanciu, who was unable to impose himself. Steaua fought hard yet the gap proved too big to bridge.

If City did not exactly take the breath away, they impressed throughout, the visitors' spectacular attacks punctuating their full control of the contest. Guardiola's men gave the impression they could score at will. That they ended up by being roundly applauded spoke volumes.

©AFP/Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images
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©AFP/Getty Images