Aguero the Star as Manchester City Make Impressive Start to European Campaign

Rob PollardFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2013

PLZEN, CZECH REPUBLIC - SEPTEMBER 17:  Matus Kozacik (L) of Plzen challenges Sergio Aguero (C) of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League match between FC Viktoria Plzen and Manchester City on September 17, 2013 in Plzen, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Lennart Preiss/Getty Images)
Lennart Preiss/Getty Images

Sergio Aguero put in a fine performance as Manchester City kicked off their Champions League campaign in fine style, winning 3-0 against FC Viktoria Plzen in the Czech Republic.

Wearing their beautiful new third strip, City were in complete control throughout the match and were good value for the three points.

Vincent Kompany returned to shore up the City back line, completing 90 minutes for the first time this season. He’s now fully fit and looks ready for the weekend’s match at home to Manchester United.

City were comfortable in the first half but their passing lacked urgency, and they failed to cause Plzen enough problems. Yaya Toure went close with a header, as did Edin Dzeko, who really should have scored after Aleksandar Kolarov's brilliant whipped cross landed on his head inside the box.

Aguero’s pace and trickery were causing the home side problems. He hit the post with a low shot from just outside the area, with his willingness to run at the Plzen defence looking like City’s best attacking threat.

Sure enough, it was Aguero’s speed in behind which set up City’s opener on 48 minutes. He dispossessed Lukas Hejda with his strength before racing clear and sliding the ball to Dzeko, who took one touch and finished neatly.

Suddenly, City were looking far better, and Dzeko had two more chances in quick succession, but wasteful finishing from the Bosnian meant the score remained the same. The Blues were dominating possession, though, and beginning to look confident.

A block from Pablo Zabaleta after a shot from Jan Kovarik caused City a nervous moment, but Yaya Toure soon made it 2-0. The Ivorian picked the ball up from about 35 yards out and unleashed an unstoppable curling shot that looped over Matus Kozacik and into the top right-hand corner.

City were now in full swing and playing with style. Some neat passing in and around the Plzen area eventually saw Aguero pick the ball up with his back to goal, before spinning and hitting a low show into the bottom corner. It was a fully deserved goal and capped a memorable performance from the Argentine. He is the jewel in City’s attacking crown, and Plzen were struggling to contain him.

City continued to dominate and could have scored more. Their passing was quicker and crisper than in the first half, and Plzen were constantly on the back foot.

Aguero was denied a solo effort at the end after flicking the ball on for himself, taking another touch and then volleying it towards goal, but Kozacik did well to make the save. There was time for one more Aguero chance after substitute Alvaro Negredo’s ball put him in, but his shot went over the bar.

City lost all three away games in Europe last season, so this was a great result ahead of the visit of Bayern Munich in Matchday 2. It’s also the first time City have managed to kick off a Champions League campaign with a win.

The performance of Aguero and the return of Kompany, as well as the fluidity of their attacking in the second period, provided City with a huge boost ahead of the weekend.


Viktoria Plzen: Kozacik; Rajtoral, Hejda, Proshazka, Limbersky; Horava, Horvath; Patrzela, Kolar, Kovarik; Bakos

Subs: Bolek, Hubnik, Tecl, Duris, Wagner, Pospisil, Koukal

Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov; Touré, Fernandinho; Navas, Aguero, Nasri; Dzeko

Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Milner, Negredo, Garcia, Rodwell, Jovetic.

Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity