Published January 08, 2015
Manchester, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Sergio Aguero produced a hat trick at the Etihad on Tuesday to revive Manchester City's Champions League campaign with a 3-2 victory over 10-man Bayern Munich in Group E action.
The match started brightly for City as Bayern was reduced to 10 men in the 21st minute when Mehdi Benatia's sliding challenge in the box denied Aguero a clear scoring opportunity. Benatia was shown a straight red card and Aguero buried the ensuing penalty to give the Citizens considerable momentum.
The hosts, however, initially failed to capitalize as Bayern dictated play before going in front with two goals in the final five minutes of the opening period.
Xabi Alonso leveled the score in the 40th minute by taking advantage of some poor set-piece positioning from Joe Hart, which allowed the Spanish midfielder to slot a free kick into the bottom corner with ease.
Not satisfied with the equalizer, Bayern grabbed the lead just before halftime with Robert Lewandowski beating Vincent Kompany and Bacary Sagna to a cross and heading the delivery into the back of the net.
City settled into the match during the second half but never truly threatened Manuel Neuer in the Bayern net, until a pair of giveaways from the visitors allowed Aguero to play the role of the hero.
The equalizer came in the 85th minute when an arrant pass from Alonso was picked off by Stefan Jovetic. Aguero collected the ball and split the Bayern defense before firing a shot off the post and into the back of the net.
Bayern's defensive woes worsened in the first minute of stoppage time when Jerome Boateng conceded possession at the edge of the penalty area to see Aguero through on goal. The Argentine made no mistake with the finish, slotting a right-footed shot against the grain to beat Neuer and seal all three points for the Citizens.
Bayern Munich stays atop Group E on 12 points, but the runner-up spot in the group remains up for grabs as a late equalizer from Vasili Berezutski on Tuesday helped CSKA Moscow claim a 1-1 draw against Roma, leaving the two clubs level with City on five points apiece.
Chelsea cruised to a 5-0 victory over Schalke at the Veltins Arena on Tuesday as three first-half goals powered the Blues to a comfortable win over former manager Roberto Di Matteo.
John Terry put the English side in front by heading home a corner kick after only two minutes. Willian doubled the advantage in the 29th minute on a goalkeeping error from Ralf Fahrmann while an own goal from Jan Kirchhoff in the 44th left the hosts in a massive hole.
The second half was much of the same as a simple finish from Didier Drogba and a header from Ramires in the span of two minutes completed the rout, clinching a spot in the knockout round for the Blues.
Chelsea stays in first place in Group G by improving to 11 points while Sporting Lisbon, which received goals from Carlos Mane, Nani and Islam Slimani, cruised to a 3-1 victory over Maribor to climb to second place with seven points. Schalke drops to third place with five points while Maribor remains at the foot of the table with three points.
Lionel Messi continued his record-setting form in Barcelona's 4-0 victory at APOEL on Tuesday.
After breaking the La Liga scoring record at the weekend, the Argentine provided a curtain call by netting a hat trick in Tuesday's affair to become the all-time leading scorer in the Champions League.
Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the 27th minute before Messi doubled the advantage in the 38th. The Barcelona talisman continued his scoring tear on the other side of halftime, striking in the 58th and 87th minutes to complete the comfortable victory for the Catalans.
Barcelona improves to 12 points but still remains in second place in Group F as PSG claimed a 3-1 victory over Ajax at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday to maintain its one-point lead over the Spanish club.
Rounding out Tuesday's Champions League action, FC Porto cruised to a 3-0 victory at BATE Borisov to clinch top spot in Group H while Athletic Bilbao picked up a 1-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk, a meaningless result with the Ukrainian side already assured a spot in the knockout round.