Sergio Aguero was Manchester City’s hat-trick hero again as they returned to the top of the Premier League in scintillating style by outclassing Chelsea at Etihad Stadium.
Liverpool’s win against Bournemouth meant Pep Guardiola’s side needed victory to return to the summit, albeit having played one game more.
And their job was done after a sensational opening burst brought four goals in the first 25 minutes as Chelsea were left bedraggled, humiliated and on the receiving end of their worst defeat since they lost 7-0 at Nottingham Forest in April 1991, BBC reports.
The rout started after four minutes when Chelsea were caught napping by Kevin De Bruyne’s quick free-kick which left Raheem Sterling to fire in at the far post before Aguero, who had already missed an open goal, curled a magnificent right-foot finish past the stretching Kepa Arrizabalaga from 25 yards.
Chelsea’s embarrassment was symbolised by Ross Barkley’s inexplicable header straight to the feet of Aguero to poach his second and Ilkay Gundogan capped that early blitz with a low drive.
Aguero completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after 56 minutes following Cesar Azpilicueta’s foul on Sterling, his 15th treble for City and a record-equalling 11th in the Premier League, an honour he shares with Alan Shearer. It was also his second in successive home games after his hat-trick in the 3-1 win against Arsenal.
Sterling then piled on the agony for Chelsea with the sixth, turned in from six yards after David Silva’s threaded pass released Oleksandr Zinchenko down the left.
Paul Pogba produced another superb display as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it 11 games unbeaten since becoming Manchester United manager with a 3-0 win at Fulham.
With Chelsea not in action until Sunday when they travel to Manchester City, United knew victory would bring them up to fourth place for the first time since August — and they ensured they would finish the day in the Champions League positions thanks to a Pogba double and a brilliant solo effort from Anthony Martial.
Solskjaer, with one eye on Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain, started with Romelu Lukaku in attack as in-form Marcus Rashford was dropped on the bench.
It was Fulham who started the game stronger and should have taken the lead when Luciano Vietto squandered a brilliant chance inside two minutes. The home side created more chances with Andre Schurrle shooting over from seven yards.
And they were made to pay for their profligacy when Pogba gave United the lead on 14 minutes. Martial played his France teammate in and Pogba rifled an effort past goalkeeper Sergio Rico, who would have been disappointed to be beaten at his near post.
United doubled their lead on 23 minutes when Martial showed shades of Cristiano Ronaldo’s famous late winner at Craven Cottage in 2007. The former Monaco man picked the ball up inside his own half and ran through the Fulham defence before finishing neatly in Rico’s far corner.
The visitors looked to get a third before half-time and Phil Jones almost got himself on the scoresheet when he fired just over from the edge of the box after Fulham failed to clear a corner.
Manchester United’s goal scoring heroes Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba celebrate going 2-0 ahead. Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images
Fulham were lucky not to be a man down just before interval when Calum Chambers received just a yellow card for an apparent stamp on United defender Chris Smalling.
The hosts, who started the day seven points from safety, looked unlikely to mount any sort of comeback — and the game was put to bed as a contest on 65 minutes when Pogba scored his second from penalty spot after Juan Mata had been fouled in the box.
Fulham fans made their feelings clear as they booed Schurrle when he was replaced by Cyrus Christie on 53 minutes and applauded the decision to take off Ryan Babel on 77 minutes after the Netherlands international had hit the post from point blank range.
Next up for United is a huge midweek clash with PSG, while Fulham travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham on Friday.
Hertha Berlin captain Vedad Ibisevic sees Wednesday’s German Cup clash against Bayern Munich as a “mini final” with the hosts hoping to topple the Bavarian giants again.
Ibisevic scored when Hertha shocked Bayern 2-0 in the Bundesliga last September and the last-16 tie at the Olympic Stadium offers a chance to deal last season’s finalists Bayern an early exit.
Ibisevic, 34, is out of contract in June, but the veteran striker has netted 10 goals this season and took heart from seeing Bayern suffer their fourth league defeat of the campaign at Bayer Leverkusen last Saturday.
“This feels like a mini final for us,” said Ibisevic. “You can see that they have lost points this year that they wouldn’t have given away normally.
“Of course, it gives us hope that they could slip up again, so we know what’s possible.”
Bayern hope to have Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer back between the posts, but playing with a plastic cast on his right hand after damaging his thumb in training last week.
Berlin’s Olympic Stadium has been an unhappy hunting ground for Bayern on their most recent visits, losing last May’s German Cup final 3-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt before the defeat by Hertha.
Ibisevic firmly sees his team as the underdogs even though Berlin last lost to Bayern in September 2016.
“We don’t need to talk about being the favourites here, they are an opponent who are one of the top teams in Europe.”
The Hertha-Bayern clash is the tie of the round, while Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund play on Tuesday at home to Werder Bremen.
“If they have a good day, you’re 3-0 down,” said Hertha coach Pal Dardai, who refused to read too much into Bayern’s defeat at Leverkusen.
“Now they have lost once, doesn’t mean they are bad.”
Dardai expects a tight match, but insists penalty practice has not been on the programme in training, saying “we don’t practise those extra anymore”.
German Cup last-16 fixtures
Hamburg v Nuremberg, Heidenheim v Bayer Leverkusen (1730 GMT), Duisburg v Paderborn, Borussia Dortmund v Werder Bremen (1945)
Kiel v Augsburg, RB Leipzig v Wolfsburg (1730), Schalke v Fortuna Duesseldorf, Hertha Berlin v Bayern Munich (1945)
Juventus has extended its unbeaten run in Serie A after Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty secures all three points for the champions.
Lazio dominated play, but it was Juventus that did the scoring, winning 2-1.
Emre Can’s 59th minute own goal gave Lazio the lead. It was a goal Lazio deserved as they mounted pressure on Juventus all day.
Juventus failed to deal with a corner which was flicked on at the front post by Wallace and Emre Can reacted by inadvertently knocking the ball into his own net.
The Olimpico erupted and it seemed Juventus’ unbeaten run was about to end.
Joao Cancelo’s 73 minutes goal brought Juventus back into the game.
Max Allegri’s final change proved dividends. Another sub – Federico Bernardeschi – beat Bastos down the left and plays a cross in for Paulo Dybala but the first-time effort was saved by Thomas Strakosha.
Full-back Joao Cancelo was on hand to convert.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a sublime penalty on 89 minute after a Juventus player was brought down.
Having not had a sniff all game, Ronaldo stepped up and leathered a penalty straight down the middle and into the roof of the net. It was over and Juventus remain unbeaten.
Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah was voted as the African Footballer of the Year for the second successive year at the Confederation of African Football’s 2018 awards ceremony in Dakar on Tuesday.
Salah beat fellow nominees, Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane and Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
He edged the same two players last year in a vote decided by the technical directors and head coaches of 56 CAF member associations.
Salah becomes the fourth African after El Hadji Diouf, Samuel Eto’o, Yaya Toure to win the award back to back.
The award caps yet another remarkable year for Salah, who boasts of 13 goals in the English Premier League to help the Reds lead the log.
The 26-year-old was named the Premier League Player of the Year and ranked high in Goal 50, Fifa Best Awards and Ballon d’Or.
Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa beat Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala and Franseca Ordega to pick up the Women’s Player of the Year gong, while the Super Falcons were named Women’s National team of the Year. Mauritania edged Uganda and fellow AFCON debutantes Madagascar for the Men’s National Team of the Year award.
A first half of cavalier attacking football saw United score three times, with Paul Pogba netting his second double in successive games and Marcus Rashford grabbing the other against Bournemouth.
They are now only three points behind fifth-placed Arsenal, having trailed by eight following the morale-sapping 3-1 defeat at Liverpool earlier this month.
Pogba poked in his first after Rashford had mesmerised both Nathan Ake and Diego Rico on the right, before the French World Cup winner headed in from Ander Herrera’s precise delivery.
It was 3-0 when Anthony Martial, back in the XI after recovering from a bug, provided a wonderful delivery for Rashford to slide his shot past Asmir Begovic.
Bournemouth, who had looked dangerous on set-pieces, pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage time when Ake headed in following good work by David Brooks.
Substitute Romelu Lukaku scored United’s fourth from Pogba’s pass two minutes after coming on, while defender Eric Bailly was shown a straight red card for scything down Cherries midfielder Ryan Fraser.
United, who have now found the net 12 times in the three matches since Solskjaer took over, will look to continue their dramatic revival at Newcastle on Wednesday, BBC reports.
Luka Modric has been crowned the 2018 FIFA Men’s Player of the year, after defeating fellow finalists Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohammed Salah at the London’s Royal Festival Hall on Monday night.
His emergence follows his exploits with Croatia who reached the final of this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia and with Real Madrid who retained the UEFA Champions League.
This year’s edition brings an end to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s 10-year domination of the most prestigious award. Both Ronaldo and Messi failed to show up at the awards.
‘It was an unbelievable season, the best season in my life,’ said Modric, 33. ‘I’m very proud of everything I achieved this year. It will be remembered, for sure, forever,’ said Modric after receiving his award.
Nine different categories were decided with the Goalkeeper of the Year going to Belgium goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, while Didier Deschamps won the Coach of the Year for guiding France to win the World Cup in Russia.
In doing so, Deschamps becomes the third man in history to win the World Cup both as a player and a manager, joining Brazil’s Mario Zagallo and Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer.
Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah won the Puskas award in recognition of his strike against Everton last season in the English Premier League which saw him wriggle past three defenders to score. Interestingly Salah’s goal was adjudged the best ahead of Gareth Bale’s bicycle kick against Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League final.
Olympic Lyon manager Reynald Pedros was voted the Women’s Coach of the Year after leading the French side to a league and UEFA Women’s Champions League double last season. The women’s player award went to Brazil’s Marta who beat Lyon duo Ada Hegerberg and Dzsenifer Marozsan. Marta had previously won the-defunct FIFA World Player of the Year award five years in a row between 2006 and 2010.
The voting system is decided by national team managers, national captains, media representatives and an online vote.
"He should be there, but he is doing magic with that other club. The club I cannot name.
"It is early in the season... too early to tell. Manchester United is a great club and will always be great.
"They will win things, I know they will. But the way they play? Not good. The manager has them playing the wrong way for the fans. No fun, no creativity."
Cantona received a hero's welcome at Old Trafford in June when he played in the Soccer Aid charity match, and he said there would be no chance of defensive football if he was ever asked to take charge of United.
"I would like to coach and if they called me I would go. I would enjoy it. They know where I am. Then we would play creative football again," he added.
"It would be great for the fans, like it was with Alex Ferguson - he allowed players to be creative, treated them as individuals. All felt loved. He was always praising. A good man, a good leader."