Champions League - Aguero leads Manchester City to comfortable win

Champions League Group D, Doosan Arena - Viktoria Plzen 0 Manchester City 3 (Dzeko 48, Toure 53, Agüero 58)

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Champions League - Aguero leads Manchester City to comfortable win
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Sergio Aguero (Reuters)

A scintillating second half display got Manchester City’s Champions League campaign off to a winning start, with goals from Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero securing a comfortable 3-0 away win over Viktoria Plzen.

The result means City share top spot in Group D with reigning champions Bayern Munich, as Manuel Pellegrini’s side aims to progress beyond the group stage for the first time.

Plzen began the better of the two sides, causing City problems on the counter attack. Pellegrini’s side looked surprised at the start made by the hosts and were almost caught out when Joe Hart was forced to parry through a crowd of players from a wicked Pavel Horvath set piece.

But with City on the back-foot Dzeko was presented with a glorious opportunity to find the net, rising to meet Aleksandar Kolarov’s floated cross. However, the Bosnian striker planted his header straight at the keeper.

The visitors continued to improve as the half progressed and came even closer to breaking the deadlock, with Sergio Aguero cracking a left-footed effort off the post after driving at the opposition defence.

After the break City found their scoring touch, with Dzeko finishing off a move created entirely by Aguero, before Toure swept home from 20 yards, finding the top corner with an exceptional right-footed effort.

Aguero notched the goal his performance deserved, angling a low-shot into the bottom corner after evading the challenges of several Plzen defenders, putting the finishing touches on an impressive second half display.

KEY MOMENTS

PRE-MATCH: VINCENT KOMPANY STARTS – Having missed much of the start of the season the Belgian defender returns to action and slots straight back into the starting lineup.

20’ PLZEN PRESS – City looked to have been caught cold by Plzen’s energetic start and the home side came close to finding the net when Pavel Horvath’s wicked set-piece caused mayhem in the box, forcing Joe Hart to palm away.

23’ DZEKO SHOULD SCORE – Against the run of play Edin Dzeko is presented with a glorious chance to give City the lead, but he plants his header from six yards straight at the keeper.

24’ AGUERO HITS POST – City grew into the game as the first half progressed and Sergio Aguero came closest to breaking the deadlock, ripping a low, left-footed drive off the post.

48’ GOAL – City finally opened the scoring through Edin Dzeko, after Sergio Aguero’s sheer persistence in harassing Lukas Hejda created a two-on-one situation.

53’ GOAL – Yaya Toure found the net with a stunning curling effort, with the ball ending up in the top corner after the Ivorian surged at the Plzen defence.

57’ GOAL – Sergio Aguero caps an impressive performance by angling a low-shot into the bottom corner following a jinking run through the challenges of several Plzen defenders.

88’ PLZEN HIT POST – The hosts almost found a consolation goal, when Tomas Horava met a corner on the volley. However, his effort struck the woodwork with Hart helpless.

TALKING POINTIs Manuel Pellegrini finally the man to steer City to Champions League success? After two years of abject failure in the group stage Man City finally look to have a better chance of making the last 16. The influence of new coach Pellegrini looks to have added European nous to City’s play, although they will face tougher tests against Bayern Munich and CSKA Moscow.

KEY STATS

Manchester City won in what was the first competitive tie between the two sides.

Five of Edin Dzeko's six Champions League goals have come away from home.

Despite the victory over Viktoria Plzen, Manchester City have lost five of their seven away games in the Champions League. Their only other win came against Villarreal two years ago.

MAN OF THE MATCH – Sergio Aguero

The little Argentine took control of the game in the second half, with almost every attacking move coming through his feet. Plzen struggled to deal with his vision and creativity, notching an exceptional strike to cap his display with a deserved goal. 

PLAYER RATINGS

Viktoria Plzen – Kozacik 6, Rajtoral 6, Hejda 4, Prochazka 5, Limbersky 5, Horava 6, Horvath 7, Petrzela 5, Kolar 6, Kovarik 5, Bakos 4; Subs: Hubnik 4, Duris 4.

Manchester City – Hart 5, Zabaleta 5, Kompany 6, Nastasic 5, Kolarov 4, Toure 7, Fernandinho 5, Navas 6, Aguero 9, Nasri 6, Dzeko 7; Subs: Milner 5.

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