Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - Page 18 News List

UEFA Champions League: Man City sweep Pilsen aside 3-0 in first Group D match

AFP, PILSEN, Czech Republic

Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko, center, celebrates with teammates Sergio Aguero, right, and Jesus Navas after scoring against Vikroria Pilsen in their UEFA Champions League match in Pilsen, the Czech Republic, on Tuesday.

Photo: EPA

Three goals within 10 second-half minutes handed Manchester City an easy 3-0 Champions League win over Czech Republic title-holders Viktoria Pilsen in their opening Group D fixture on Tuesday.

Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko scored in the 48th minute with a low shot past helpless Pilsen goalkeeper Matus Kozacik after being set up by Sergio Aguero.

Five minutes later, Yaya Toure sent a superb curling shot from outside the box into the top corner of Kozacik’s goal.

Another five minutes passed and Aguero, a constant threat for the Pilsen defense, made it 3-0 with a low left-footed strike.

“It’s very important to start the Champions League winning away,” City coach Manuel Pellegrini told Sky Sports. “I hope we’ll see the real Manchester City because the last two years were disappointing for the fans and the club.”

Big-spending City, sitting fourth in the Premier League, have never made it to the Champions League knockout phase in their two appearances to date, but they started this year’s mission in style.

Jesus Navas produced the first shot on goal in the seventh minute, tipped over the crossbar by a diving Kozacik.

The Slovakian ’keeper also stopped a Dzeko header from close range and then a low shot by Aguero just before halftime.

It was the first time that Pilsen had played a Champions League game in their home city, famous for its Pilsner beer, after being exiled to Prague for the 2011-2012 edition after their stadium had failed to meet UEFA requirements.

However, the team that beat Atletico Madrid and SSC Napoli in last season’s Europa League impressed little on Tuesday.

Pilsen’s stocky 38-year-old captain, Pavel Horvath, tested Joe Hart with a free-kick, but the England international managed to keep the effort out.

In the second half, Dzeko sent two chances over the bar shortly after opening the score and Aguero had two shots turned away by a diving Kozacik before missing the target in the final minute.

Pilsen’s Tomas Horava then hit the woodwork with a volley just before the end in a rare chance for the home side.

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