Three goals in 10 minutes shortly after the restart put Manchester City in an unassailable position away to Viktoria Plzen, and they ended up cruising to a comfortable 3-0 win at Doosan Arena.
Edin Dzeko scored the first of Tuesday evening following an impressive counterattack that began when Vincent Kompany sprung Sergio Aguero with a long pass downfield.
Spotting his teammate running into open space in the goalmouth, Aguero found Dzeko with an inch-perfect ball that the Bosnia-Herzegovina international caressed expertly inside the far post for the 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later City were 2-0 ahead, and the goal couldn’t have been any easier on the eyes.
Accepting Samir Nasri’s layoff, Yaya Toure took a few steps at the Plzen defense before unleashing a swerving drive from more than 25 yards that left goalkeeper Matus Kozacik with no chance as it found the top right-hand corner of the net.
Barely another five minutes had ticked off the clock when Aguero scored what would prove to be the final tally of the night—turning onto his left foot as he ran away from goal and beating Kozacik inside the right post.
Plzen, to their credit, had began the match well and could have gone in front after 21 minutes when City goalkeeper Joe Hart was forced to parry Marek Bakos’ free-kick back into the goalmouth.
But the guests managed to clear the danger—a theme that would repeat itself through much of an opening period in which Plzen broke effectively downfield, overwhelming the Premier League side in numbers.
By the end of the half, however, City were on top of things and would make their growing pressure pay shortly after the restart.
Key Player Grades
Sergio Aguero: A+
The Argentine is rounding into form at the best possible time—just days before the Manchester derby at home to local rivals United. On Tuesday Aguero scored once and assisted on another—the goal that proved to be the winner—and also helped in linking play from the centre of the park to the attacking third. His partnership with Dzeko appeared particularly effective, so look for manager Manuel Pellegrini to start the pair up top again on Sunday.
Yaya Toure: A
It took the powerful Ivory Coast midfielder about half an hour to settle into the match, but once he did, he absolutely dominated proceedings in the Czech Republic. By the time he was withdrawn in the 80th minute he had touched the ball 71 times, completed 92 percent of his passes, attempted three shots on goal and scored the most spectacular goal of the day.
Tomas Horava: B+
The 25-year-old Plzen midfielder was the most accurate passer on the night, completing an incredible 97 percent of his passes. But he found himself rather overrun in the second half, where both he and central midfield partner Pavel Horvath could hardly get a foothold against City. Still, it was obvious to see why he was capped for the Czech Republic for the first time last year.
Plzen are so far unbeaten in the domestic league but will no doubt be thinking ahead to their next Champions League match, which will come on October 2 away to CSKA Moscow.
City, meanwhile, have the little matter of the Manchester derby on Sunday and will next face Bayern Munich in the Champions League on October 2.
Statistics courtesy WhoScored.com.
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