City go top with win over Ham­mers

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

MAN­CHES­TER CITY, Pre­mier League cham­pi­ons in 2012 and 2014, went to the top of the ta­ble with a 3-1 vic­tory over West Ham United yes­ter­day.

Su­pe­rior goal dif­fer­ence took them above Chelsea and neigh­bours Man­ches­ter United, who have also won their three open­ing games. Hav­ing scored twice in the first 18 min­utes through Ra­heem Ster­ling and Brazil­ian mid­fielder Fer­nand­inho, Pep Guardi­ola’s team ap­peared set for an easy three points, only to be pegged back as the Lon­don side im­proved af­ter half time.

Michail An­to­nio re­duced the deficit in the 58th minute but Ster­ling scored his sec­ond goal in stop­page time from an acute an­gle.

City could have lead­ing scorer Ser­gio Aguero banned for the derby match against United next month if ret­ro­spec­tive ac­tion is taken af­ter he ap­peared to swing an arm at West Ham’s Win­ston Reid, who had to go off af­ter tak­ing a blow to the throat.

“I did not see the in­ci­dent,” Guardi­ola told re­porters and nei­ther did West Ham’s man­ager Slaven Bilic.

“Reid got a lit­tle in­jured so we took him off,” Bilic said.

For his third league game in charge of City, the for­mer Barcelona and Bay­ern Mu­nich man­ager again picked Willy Ca­ballero in goal rather than Joe Hart, and the Ar­gen­tine was not trou­bled for al­most an hour un­til An­to­nio’s un­ex­pected in­ter­ven­tion.

In the mean­time, Ster­ling scored his first goal of the sea­son fol­low­ing a fine move and Fer­nand­inho added his first in the league since the same week­end last year.

He was left com­pletely un­marked to head in Kevin de Bruyne’s free kick as goal­keeper Adrian glared at his de­fence.

Bilic’s side, again weak­ened by in­juries and un­able to use new loan sign­ing Si­mone Zaza from Ju­ven­tus, em­ployed three cen­tre halves plus wing backs, but de­fended poorly against City’s flu­ent at­tack­ing.

In the sec­ond half, Bilic pushed An­to­nio fur­ther for­ward and he headed in a cross by Arthur Ma­suaku.

City briefly looked ner­vous but in the last few min­utes David Silva hit a post and Ster­ling made the vic­tory safe.

“You have to win 3-0 or 4-0 to think the game is over,” Guardi­ola told Sky Sports.

“We played a good game. Our fans en­joyed it and we are happy.

“I don’t know how many shots we had but the per­for­mance in gen­eral was real good.”

West Ham stayed 12th in the ta­ble af­ter their sec­ond de­feat. “I wasn’t happy at half time,” Bilic said. “I asked the guys to show char­ac­ter and spirit and a dif­fer­ent men­tal­ity which they did. Praise for the team for the sec­ond-half per­for­mance. “A few will be back af­ter the in­ter­na­tional break.” — AFP

Ra­heem Ster­ling rounds Adrian and scores Man City’s third

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