MANCHESTER, England (AP) ― Manchester City consigned beleaguered West Ham to a second hammering inside four days by romping to a 6-0 victory in the first leg of their League Cup semifinal on Wednesday, with Alvaro Negredo leading the rout with a clinical hat trick.
Wembley Stadium ― and a first appearance in the final since 1976 ― couldn’t be any closer for free-scoring City after an embarrassingly one-sided contest that also featured two goals from Edin Dzeko and another by Yaya Toure.
The result heaped further humiliation on West Ham and its under-fire manager Sam Allardyce, who saw his relegation-threatened side lose 5-0 at second-tier Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup on Sunday.
“It’s not unique to us is it?” Allardyce said. “Manchester City have done this to Tottenham and Manchester United. We knew they had to have an off night and they didn’t.”
Sunderland beat Manchester United 2-1 on Tuesday in the first leg of the other semifinal. The second legs are in two weeks’ time.
Allardyce had fielded a shadow side full of kids and fringe squad members against Forest to ensure his main players were fully recharged for this match. It proved to be a complete waste of time.
They were steamrollered by a City team that took its goal tally at the Etihad this season to 59 in 15 games. At times, it was embarrassing and downright cruel as the hosts toyed with their opponents, with Negredo moving onto 18 for the season in his first year at City
“Playing better than the way he did today is not easy,” Pellegrini said of Negredo. “He really played a complete game.”
City was everything United wasn’t against Sunderland: sharp, full of movement and unforgiving in front of goal. The gap between the two Manchester rivals hasn’t been so great in a generation.
Negredo and Toure were at the heart of everything for City and they combined beautifully for the first goal in the 12th minute. Toure floated a long pass through the middle of West Ham’s open defense, the ball dropping over the shoulder of Negredo who buried a first-time volley into the corner.
The Spain striker made it 2-0 in the 26th by sprinting onto Dzeko’s reverse pass and delivering a finish on the slide, and Toure inflicted more punishment just before halftime, running from halfway toward back-pedaling defender Roger Johnson and calmly stroking a shot low into the center of the goal.
Johnson was signed from third-tier Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday to ease West Ham’s defensive injury crisis that has deprived Allardyce of all his center backs. He couldn’t have endured a more miserable debut.
The misery was far from over for West Ham, either.
Negredo completed his second hat trick for City with a snapshot in the 49th after David Silva’s low cross deflected into his path and strike partner Dzeko got in on the act on the hour mark, poking home a near-post finish from Gael Clichy’s center.
MADRID (AP) ― Lionel Messi marked his return from a near two-month injury layoff by scoring two late goals as Barcelona beat Getafe 4-0 in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
While Cesc Fabregas also scored twice, the atmosphere at the far from capacity Camp Nou Stadium picked up with Messi’s entrance as a substitute in the 64th minute.
The Argentina forward didn’t disappoint as he reminded who Barcelona’s top scorer is while showing no after effects from a torn left hamstring.
Messi slotted home Martin Montoya’s neat lay-off on the stroke of stoppage time before capping a typical run through the opponent’s defense with a rising shot into the back of the net moments later.
Barcelona was also without forward Neymar for the last 16, first-leg match because of a stomach bug.