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Sergio Aguero hat-trick for Manchester City downs Newcastle United

Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick as Manchester City responded to their first Premeir League defeat of the season to beat Newcastle United 3-1 this evening.

Jacob Murphy halved City’s lead midway through the second half before Aguero completed his 11th treble for the Blues late into a one-sided encounter at the Etihad Stadium.

With the result, Pep Guardiola’s side restore their 12-point lead at the top of the table and put to bed any questions raised by their first league defeat of the season to Liverpool last weekend.

The visitors had an early opening when Jonjo Shelvey released Christian Atsu, whose cross was cleared to Isaac Hayden but the midfielder scuffed his volley from 15 yards out.

 That was Newcastle’s only meaningful venture forward in the opening 45 minutes as the game quickly settled into a pattern of attack versus defence.

City enjoyed 82% possession in the first half but did not convert that into many clear-cut chances as Newcastle’s organised defence proved difficult to break down.

Raheem Sterling had a goal disallowed for offside on 18 minutes, finishing off a slick move at the back post before the flag was raised, and had City’s first shot on target on 32 minutes when he cut inside onto his left foot and struck straight at Karl Darlow.

Aguero broke the deadlock two minutes later when he applied the feintest of headers to a De Bruyne cross to help it past Darlow.

The Citizens pushed for a second before half time as De Bruyne’s deflected shot forced Darlow into a good save, and picked up where they left off after the interval as they continued to dominate without threatening too regularly.

With chances from open play hard to come by, City would have been grateful to a clumsy piece of defending from Javi Manquillo as he bundled down Sterling in the box, allowing Aguero to slot home his second from the penalty spot on 63 minutes.

However, Newcastle pulled themselves back into the game from nowhere as Ciaran Clark picked out an incisive pass behind otherwise-impressive makeshift left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, for Murphy to run onto and lift a deft chip over Ederson on 67 minutes.

Murphy’s first Magpies goal would eventually count for nothing, but Newcastle had an opportunity to equalise when Mohamed Diame burst into the box and shot at Ederson, whose spillage presented Ayoze Perez with a follow-up chance that was blocked by John Stones.

Aguero took his tally to nine goals in his last four games against United with his third on 83 minutes, a sweeping left-footed finish into the bottom corner after dazzling footwork from Leroy Sane had fooled four Newcastle defenders.

Although they did their best to contain City, Rafael Benitez’s side fell to their first defeat of 2018, which leaves them only two points clear of the relegation zone.

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