LONDON (AP) ― Sergio Aguero’s late hat trick rescued Manchester City from FA Cup humiliation at the hands of second-tier Watford, ushering the Premier League title favorites into the fifth round with a 4-2 win Saturday. Liverpool and Everton also advanced.
The biggest shock of this season’s competition was on when Watford took a 2-0 lead after 30 minutes at Etihad Stadium, only for a remarkable Aguero-led comeback by City in the final half-hour.
The Argentina striker produced clinical finishes in the 60th and 79th minutes to level the score before Aleksandar Kolarov put City in front in the 87th. Aguero completed his hat trick in injury time, keeping Manuel Pellegrini’s side in contention for silverware on four fronts this season.
“I wanted to change all of my players at halftime, all 11 of them,” Pellegrini said. “The whole team was a disaster in the first half.”
There were no such worries for Liverpool, which beat second-tier Bournemouth 2-0 away courtesy of goals by Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge, and Everton, which eased past third-tier Stevenage 4-0 largely thanks to Steven Naismith’s first-half pair of goals. Tim Howard did not play for the Toffees, whose victory was marred by a suspected broken left leg suffered by Costa Rica international Bryan Oviedo, which could rule him out of the World Cup this summer.Germany
|FC Augsburg’s Ji Dong-won celebrates his goal with teammate Andre Hahn on Saturday. (AFP-Yonhap)|
Freiburg defeated Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 and Borussia Dortmund was held 2-2 at home by Augsburg as Bayern Munich’s main title rivals both faltered in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Meanwhile, American Timmy Chandler scored the first goal for Nuremberg in a 4-0 win over Hoffenheim.
Freiburg midfielder Felix Klaus scored in the last minute as his side twice came from behind to climb provisionally out of the relegation zone. Lars Bender scored with Leverkusen’s first shot in the fourth minute and Admir Mehmedi equalized with a fine strike in the 27th before Simon Rolfes restored the visitors’ lead eight minutes later.
Dortmund endured an afternoon to forget as the side’s bad luck with injuries continued. Poland midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski sustained suspected cruciate ligament damage to his right knee in the third minute.
Sven Bender headed home side Dortmund in front in the fifth ― one minute after his twin brother had opened the scoring for Leverkusen ― but conceded an own goal in the 56th, when he deflected Andre Hahn’s cross into his own net. Nuri Sahin restored Dortmund’s lead from a free kick in the 66th, only for South Korea midfielder Ji Dong-won, who will join Dortmund next season, to score Augsburg’s equalizer in the 72nd just two minutes after coming on as a substitute. Spain
Cristiano Ronaldo paraded his Ballon d’Or trophy and scored his league-leading 22nd goal, helping Real Madrid to provisionally move to the top of the Spanish league with a 2-0 win over Granada on Saturday.
Ronaldo soaked up an ovation from fans in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium as he held up his award for the best player in the world in 2013 before the match, which he then put his stamp on with a pinpoint strike to score in the 56th minute.
Karim Benzema sealed Madrid’s ninth straight win in all competitions in the 74th, moments after Ronaldo’s deflected free kick clipped the crossbar.