Aguero scores 3, Man City beats Bayern 3-2
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Sergio Aguero scored a hat trick — including two late goals — to inspire Manchester City to a 3-2 win over 10-man Bayern Munich on Tuesday, reviving the English champions’ chances of reaching the Champions League’s knockout stage.
Aguero put City ahead with a 21st-minute penalty that led to the sending-off of defender Mehdi Benatia, then capitalized on defensive errors to score again in the 85th and in the first minute of stoppage time.
“If you want to succeed at anything, you need a special player in special form. Sergio Aguero is our special player,” City captain Vincent Kompany said of the Argentina striker, who has scored 17 goals in 18 games this season.
Somehow, despite picking up just two points from its first four matches in Group E, City can still qualify for the last 16.
City is tied on five points with Roma and CSKA Moscow, seven behind already-qualified Bayern. Heading into the final round of group games, City will advance if it beats Roma away and CSKA fails to win at Bayern.
Bayern fell to its first loss in 19 competitive games this season, losing focus late on having played a man short from the 20th minute when Benatia — as last man — fouled Aguero as the striker prepared to shoot. The center back was given a straight red card.
Still, the German champions — fielding a weakened team with first place in the group assured — belied its numerical inferiority by coming from behind to lead at Etihad Stadium through goals by Xabi Alonso and Robert Lewandowski in the final five minutes of the first half.
Bayern toyed with City in a 3-1 win here in last season’s group stage and it was the same 13 months on. Indeed, with Alonso — on his 33rd birthday — running the game from the base of Bayern’s midfield, it was hard to know which team was a player short at times.
“We gave them the game,” Bayern coach Pep Guardiola said. “They had hardly any chances with 11 against 10 ... we were tired in the last 10 minutes.”
It was a rare mistake by Alonso with five minutes left that was a turning point. His slack pass was intercepted by Stevan Jovetic and Aguero ran onto the loose ball before slotting a left-foot finish in the corner to make it 2-2.
Aguero then pounced on a poor touch from Bayern defender Jerome Boateng to run through and shoot low past Manuel Neuer for the winner, at the same end of the Etihad where he won the Premier League title for City with an injury-time goal on the last day of the 2011-12 season.
“This team never knows it is beaten,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said
Earlier, Bayern had overturned Aguero’s opener through Alonso’s low, curling free kick in the 40th minute and Lewandowski’s header from Boateng’s cross in the 45th.