Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick as Manchester City escaped a huge FA Cup upset by coming from behind to win 4-2 at home to second-tier Watford on Saturday.
Beaten Championship play-off finalists last season, Watford went 2-0 up inside 30 minutes through Fernando Forestieri and Troy Deeney to leave free-scoring City at risk of a shock defeat. However, Aguero struck three times in the last half an hour, with Aleksandar Kolarov also on target, to send last season’s beaten finalists into the fifth round.
With Watford 15th in the Championship, they were given little chance of pulling off an upset at the Etihad Stadium, but they took the lead in the 21st minute when Forestieri beat Costel Pantilimon.
It was a reward for the visitors’ bold start to the game and nine minutes later they made it 2-0, with Deeney finishing off a sweeping move involving Sean Murray and Ikechi Anya.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini sent on defenders Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta for the second half and with half an hour remaining the hosts pulled a goal back through Aguero.
The Argentine then plundered an equaliser in the 79th minute, slipping the ball onto his left foot and curling home his 24th goal of the campaign following a raid led by Jesus Navas.
Watford were still within sight of a money-spinning replay, but with three minutes remaining Kolarov deceived visiting goalkeeper Jonathan Bond from distance to make it 3-2, before Aguero completed his treble at the death.
Juve held by Lazio
Milan: Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was sent off as 10-man Juventus dropped points for the first time since October last year in a 1-1 draw at Lazio on Saturday.
Juventus remain top of Serie A on 56 points but could see their lead over second-placed Roma cut to six points if the Giallorossi account for Verona in Sunday’s early game.
Juventus were looking for their 13th successive win since losing 4-2 to Fiorentina on October 20. But their bid suffered a blow before the half hour when Buffon, who had already almost gifted Miroslav Klose a free scoring chance, saw red for hauling the German striker down on the six-yard line.
Buffon made way for No. 2 ‘keeper Marco Storari, with Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah forced off to leave Juve a man down.
New Napoli signing Jorginho made his debut after replacing Blerim Dzemaili just before the hour but his introduction did nothing to change the hosts’ fortunes. The post saved Chievo for a second time when Mertens’s free kick hit the upright and late substitute Lorenzo Insigne’s rising drive skimmed off the crossbar from the right of goal.