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Aguero rescues Man City from shock loss in FA Cup
LONDON (AP) - Sergio Aguero’s late hat trick rescued Manchester City from FA Cup humiliation at the hands of second-tier Watford, ushering the Premier League title favorites into the fifth round with a 4-2 win Saturday. Liverpool and Everton also advanced.
The biggest shock of this season’s competition was on when Watford took a 2-0 lead after 30 minutes at Etihad Stadium, only for a remarkable Aguero-led comeback by City in the final half-hour.
The Argentina striker produced clinical finishes in the 60th and 79th minutes to level the score before Aleksandar Kolarov put City in front in the 87th. Aguero completed his hat trick in injury time, keeping Manuel Pellegrini’s side in contention for silverware on four fronts this season.
“I wanted to change all of my players at halftime, all 11 of them,” Pellegrini said. “The whole team was a disaster in the first half.”
There were no such worries for Liverpool, which beat second-tier Bournemouth 2-0 away courtesy of goals by Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge, and Everton, which eased past third-tier Stevenage 4-0 largely thanks to Steven Naismith’s first-half pair of goals. Tim Howard did not play for the Toffees, whose victory was marred by a suspected broken left leg suffered by Costa Rica international Bryan Oviedo, which could rule him out of the World Cup this summer.
Premier League teams Southampton, Cardiff, Swansea, Hull and Jozy Altidore’s Sunderland - a 1-0 winner over non-league side Kidderminster - also advanced but Crystal Palace, which is battling relegation in the top flight, was eliminated after losing 2-1 at defending champion Wigan.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Cristiano Ronaldo paraded his Ballon d’Or trophy and scored his league-leading 22nd goal, helping Real Madrid to provisionally move to the top of the Spanish league with a 2-0 win over Granada on Saturday.
Ronaldo soaked up an ovation from fans in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium as he held up his award for the best player in the world in 2013 before the match, which he then put his stamp on with a pinpoint strike to score in the 56th minute.
“My team is playing perfectly in 2014,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “It has balance between attack and defense. That’s the key. We haven’t won any silverware yet … but our games in 2014 have been perfect.”
Also, Valladolid ended Villarreal’s three-game winning run with a 1-0 victory at home courtesy of defender Jesus Rueda’s 40th-minute header to provisionally escape the relegation zone.
Later, Valencia hosted Espanyol, Levante was at Sevilla.
Barcelona hosts Malaga on Sunday while Atletico visits Rayo Vallecano.
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