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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Manchester City 5 – 0 Everton

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Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero marked his final appearance at Etihad Stadium with two goals as the new Premier League champions ended their domestic campaign with a thumping win over Everton.

Aguero, who has won five league titles during a glorious decade with City, was not fit enough to start but, with his side already 3-0 up he quickly made his mark after coming off the bench with 25 minutes to go.

The 32-year-old Argentina striker scored his 259th goal for the club with a clever curling shot with the outside of his foot, then headed home Fernandinho’s cross a few moments later.

Only a smart Jordan Pickford block stopped Aguero from completing his hat-trick, the only blip on a memorable day for Pep Guardiola’s side and their fans.

There were City supporters inside their stadium for the first time this season, and they were able to enjoy a dominant performance from start to finish, topped by Aguero’s farewell goals and seeing the Premier League trophy lifted after full-time.

Kevin de Bruyne fired City ahead from the edge of the area after only 11 minutes, then set up Gabriel Jesus to gallop clear and make it 2-0.

Gylfi Sigurdsson had a penalty saved by City keeper Ederson before the home side made sure of the points thanks to a cool finish by Phil Foden after good work by Raheem Sterling and Jesus.

The crowd had already been demanding Aguero’s introduction for most of the match and, when they got their wish, the club’s record goalscorer did not disappoint.

Aguero’s season has been interrupted by Covid and injury, as well as his manager favouring a system without a traditional striker, so this was only his 12th league appearance of 2020-21.

But he was never going to go quietly, starting when thousands of fans chanted his name as the team coaches approached Etihad Stadium, briefly blocking the road.

His name was also sung when he emerged to warm up, when he came on for Riyad Mahrez and, of course, when he scored his final two City goals at Etihad Stadium – both of which were set up by Fernandinho.

Aguero’s goals ensured he broke one last record too – he now has 184 in the league for City, eclipsing Wayne Rooney’s 183 for Manchester United which was previously the record for a player at a single club.

There could still be more to come from the expert marksman, of course – after celebrating their third domestic title in four seasons, City head for Porto next, where they will face Chelsea in the Champions League final on Saturday.

While City were celebrating even before the game began, Everton’s campaign ended in disappointment – and the heaviest defeat of a very mixed season.

They went into the match knowing a win could see them finish seventh, and secure a place in the Europa Conference League, but instead they fell to 10th.

The Toffees led the table at the start of October after winning their first four league games but their European aspirations have been undermined by their dismal home form, the worst in the club’s 143-year history.

Their away form has been one of the highlights of their past nine months, but the Etihad has never been a happy hunting ground for them and they rarely looked like ending their 10-year wait for a win here.

Everton’s best efforts all came on the counter-attack, and they had an early chance when Dominic Calvert-Lewin saw a shot blocked by Ederson with the score at 0-0.

Another breakaway ended with Richarlison going down in the area under a challenge by Ruben Dias but Ederson plunged to his right to keep out Sigurdsson’s spot-kick and that effectively signalled the end of Everton’s hopes.

-bbc

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