NYON: Manchester City are all but certain of a place in the group stage of the Champions League after winning 5-0 away to Steaua Bucharest in Romania.
Sergio Aguero made amends for two first-half penalty misses by firing a hat-trick with David Silva and Nolito were also on target for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Nolito had already hit the crossbar with a 12-yard volley before Aguero’s first penalty was saved by home goalkeeper Florin Nita in the eighth minute after Raheem Sterling had been brought down in the box.
Sterling then set up Silva for the opening goal in the 13th minute before City were awarded a second spot-kick for Jugurtha Hamroun’s 21st-minute challenge on Pablo Zabaleta and this time Aguero blazed his effort over the crossbar.
Nita pushed Sterling’s effort on to the woodwork five minutes before the break but could do nothing to prevent Aguero making amends with a fine finish from the edge of the area for City’s second in the 41st minute.
City were out of sight four minutes after the restart when Nolito rounded Nita to score and Aguero applied another clinical finish in the 78th minute after a fine passing move and completed his hat-trick off the post in the 89th minute.
Tough for Ajax
Ajax will head to Russia for the second leg of their Champions League play-off all square after being held 1-1 by Rostov in Amsterdam.
Rostov stunned the home side when taking an early lead through midfielder Christian Noboa’s 13th-minute free-kick, but Ajax responded before the break through Davy Klaassen’s 38th-minute penalty for Cesar Navas’ foul on Riechedly Bazoer.
Ajax created a host of chances and were denied on several occasions by Rostov goalkeeper Soslan Dzhanaev.
Valentino Lazaro headed Salzburg into a 59th-minute lead and the Croatian side were rescued by Marko Rog’s 76th-minute penalty after he had been fouled by Bernardo.
FC Kobenhavn will defend a slender 1-0 lead in the return leg in Cyprus after beating Apoel Nicosia 1-0 thanks to Andrija Pavlovic’s angled drive two minutes before the break.
Borussia Monchengladbach are in the box seat in their tie against Young Boysfollowing a 3-1 win in Bern.
Young Boys, who knocked out Shakhtar Donetsk in the third qualifying round, went behind in the 11th minute when Raffael fired home from outside the box – but they equalised through Miralem Sulejmani’s close-range finish in the 56th minute.
The German side regained the lead through Andre Hahn’s emphatic finish in the 67th minute and opened up a two-goal cushion two minutes later when Young Boys defender Alain Rochat deflected Raffael’s shot into his own net.