EPL

Fulham 0-3 Manchester City: Aguero ends drought as Cottagers are brought back down to Earth

By Sports Desk March 13, 2021

Sergio Aguero scored his first Premier League goal since January 2020 as Manchester City cruised to a straightforward 3-0 win at Fulham and extended their lead at the top of the table.

Scott Parker's Cottagers had given their survival hopes a massive boost with a 1-0 win at Liverpool last weekend, but runaway leaders City brought them back down to Earth with a clinical second-half display.

Neither side looked particularly impressive in the first half, with City's few opportunities not giving Alphonse Areola a great deal to worry about.

But Pep Guardiola's men took their chances in the second period as Fulham gifted them a couple of goals, with John Stones, Gabriel Jesus and Aguero netting, the latter's penalty his first league strike since January 21 last year after being plagued by injuries.

Fulham were initially the brighter of the two teams as Ademola Lookman's pace and trickery caused issues, but he was guilty of overplaying early on and allowed Ruben Dias to block a shot.

Bernardo Silva and Aguero both drew routine saves from Areola at the other end, but the goalkeeper was helpless to keep City out at the start of the second half.

Just 76 seconds after the restart, Stones latched on to Joao Cancelo's free-kick delivery and guided the ball in from close range.

It was 3-0 by the hour mark – first, Jesus rounded Areola and smashed home after Joachim Andersen's clearance struck Ivan Cavaleiro and fell kindly for the Brazilian.

Then former City youngster Tosin Adarabioyo was tackled on the edge of his own area by Ferran Torres and he subsequently hauled the Spaniard down, with Aguero converting the penalty.

City comfortably saw the game out to extend their lead at the summit to 17 points, though second-placed Manchester United do have two games in hand.

What does it mean? City make Fulham pay for errors as hosts get a reality check

Having lost just one of their previous seven Premier League games, Fulham have hoisted themselves back to within touching distance of safety and have received a lot of praise for their performances.

But there were hints of them believing the hype as they played one pass too many in decisive areas, meaning City were able to keep them out at the back and punish those errors at the other end.

City were by no means excellent in the first half, with many of their regulars held back for the week ahead, yet you still got the impression they knew what they were doing.

Cancelo catches the eye

It was not a match full of standout individual performances, but Cancelo – as he often does – did make his mark.

The Portuguese full-back has developed into a key man for City and he was a joy to watch here, his forays forward adding an extra dimension to his team.

While he only played one key pass in open play, he also got the assist for Stones' opener with a gorgeous delivery and was solid defensively, making five tackles – tied with Rodri for the most by a City player.

Adarabioyo's day to forget

Playing against his former team, Adarabioyo will have been desperate to impress, and perhaps that was partly to blame for his decision-making in the lead-up to the City penalty.

His attempt to dribble past Torres was unnecessary and he conceded the foul. That aside it is difficult to say he impressed much defensively, failing to make any tackles or clearances.

What's next?

City now turn their attentions towards the Champions League as they face Borussia Monchengladbach in the second leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday. As for Fulham, they host Leeds United on Friday.

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    Chris Greaves produced an instrumental performance to help Scotland deal an early dent to Bangladesh's hopes of progressing to the T20 World Cup Super 12 with a shock win.

    A Scotland victory appeared extremely unlikely when they were reduced to 53-6 having been put into bat in Muscat.

    However, Greaves' 28-ball 45 helped Scotland rebuild their innings, as they reached 140-9, in an innings that saw Shakib Al Hasan become the leading wicket-taker in T20 internationals, with two dismissals taking him to 108.

    And Greaves was similarly key with ball in hand, his 2-19 comprising the key wickets of Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim.

    Greaves broke up that duo's 47-run third-wicket partnership by removing Shakib for 20 and then benefited as Mushfiqur misjudged a scoop on 38 and lost his leg stump.

    Brad Wheal (3-24) took a starring role from there, dismissing Nural Hasan (2) and Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah (23) in the space of four 19th-over deliveries.

    Bangladesh were left needing 24 off the last over and that proved too steep a challenge as Scotland prevailed by six runs.

    The day's earlier Group B game saw Oman cruise to a 10-wicket win over Papua New Guinea thanks in part to Jatinder Singh's 73.

  • Newcastle United 2-3 Tottenham: Kane off the mark as Spurs spoil the party at St James' Park Newcastle United 2-3 Tottenham: Kane off the mark as Spurs spoil the party at St James' Park

    Newcastle United's new era started with a familiar feeling of disappointment as Tottenham ran out 3-2 winners at St James' Park, with Sunday's match marred by a medical emergency in the stands.

    With the pre-match build up dominated by Newcastle's off-field changes, the club's new PIF owners were served up a stark reminder of the issues on the pitch as Steve Bruce's 1000th game as a manager ended in defeat.

    Callum Wilson's second-minute header buoyed an already rampant home crowd, but Tottenham hit back through Tanguy Ndombele before Harry Kane scored his first Premier League goal of the season.

    A fan was taken to hospital after an incident late in the first half, which led to a defibrillator being called for and the suspension of play. When it restarted, Kane turned provider for Son Heung-min.

    Jonjo Shelvey's red card seemed to erase any Newcastle hopes, only for Eric Dier's late own goal to worry Spurs, but it was ultimately not enough to inspire a comeback.

    Newcastle's pre-match elation swiftly carried onto the pitch. Only one minute and 47 seconds had passed when Wilson got ahead of his marker to head in Javier Manquillo's cross.

    Yet a blistering following 10 minutes failed to produce another Newcastle goal and, after Lucas Moura fired a warning shot, Spurs drew level through Ndombele's superb, curling strike into the right-hand side of the goal.

    Spurs' turnaround was complete five minutes later as Kane darted onto Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's lofted pass and finished deftly over Darlow. The goal was initially disallowed for offside, but VAR spotted Manquillo's failure to step up in time.

    Lucas rattled the woodwork as Spurs searched for a third, though play was then suspended due to a medical emergency in the crowd.

    Spurs picked up where they left off following a long delay – Kane squaring for Son to make it 3-1.

    Devoid of ideas going forward, Newcastle's day turned from bad to worse in the 83rd minute.

    Shelvey, brought on as a 60th-minute substitute, brought down Sergio Reguilon, duly receiving his second yellow card.

    Newcastle were handed hope by Dier bundling into his own net, though Spurs held firm to condemn their hosts to another damaging defeat.


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    Harry gets off the mark at his happy hunting ground

    Kane's misfortunes have become a major talking point in recent weeks, with last season's golden boot winner far from his best since his failed move to Manchester City.

    But he finally opened his league account for the campaign on Sunday, before then combining with his partner in crime Son. Six of Kane's seven top-flight goals for Spurs against Newcastle have come at St James' Park. He has only scored more away goals against Leicester City and Everton.

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    Bruce hit out at the media in his pre-match news conference, after numerous stories of his impending dismissal proved to be untrue. Yet on his milestone game as a manager, Bruce's deficiencies were there for all to see. Newcastle started brilliantly, but in the final 10 minutes, a chorus of "sacked in the morning" echoed around the stadium. It was not exactly clear which sets of supporters were responsible.

    His record stands at W376, D254, L370, while Bruce has won just four of his 27 encounters with Spurs in all competitions, and the speculation over his future seems set to continue as Newcastle's new owners assess the state of play.

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    Julian Nagelsmann was pleased with Bayern Munich's display in their 5-1 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen but felt his side should have added even more goals to their tally.

    The reigning champions responded to their first defeat of Nagelsmann's tenure two weeks ago against Eintracht Frankfurt with a superb attacking display at BayArena on Sunday.

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    Only twice before in Bundesliga history has an away side scored five goals in a quicker time from kick-off – Dortmund against Schalke (23 minutes) and Karlsruhe versus Frankfurt (30 minutes), both in 1964.

    There have been 10 occasions when teams have scored five or more goals in the first half of a Bundesliga game this century, with Bayern responsible for six of those 45-minute thrashings, including when they put five past Dortmund before the break in March 2018 on the way to a 6-0 win.

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    His run of scoring in 15 successive league games was ended prior to the international break when failing to net against Greuther Furth and then Frankfurt, before also going scoreless in Poland's double-header of October fixtures.

    The 33-year-old has now scored two or more goals in 73 different Bundesliga games – a tally bettered only by late Bayern great Gerd Muller (87) – and was happy to joke about his short-lived scoreless run after getting back on the scoresheet.

    "Four games without a goal... which four games? Do you mean training? I scored in the Champions League game before the Frankfurt match," Lewandowski pointed out.

    "Personally, I'm happy when people ask when I'll score my next goal. That shows what expectations they have of me.

    "Sometimes there are phases when the ball doesn't fall to you, you have to be patient. Today it worked out twice.

    "We scored five goals in 45 minutes. At the break it was clear we would take all three points with us to Munich. We can be satisfied with the performance."

    The 29 goals scored by Bayern in their opening eight Bundesliga matches equals their previous highest tally at this stage in a campaign from the 1976-77 season.

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