Jan. 13 (UPI) — Argentine striker Sergio Aguero netted a hat trick in Manchester City’s win against Aston Villa to break Thierry Henry‘s record for the most Premier League goals scored by a non-English player.
Aguero scored in the 28th, 57th and 81st minutes of the 6-1 triumph Sunday at Villa Park in Birmingham, England. Aguero also became the Premier League’s all-time leader in hat tricks (12) during the win. He now has a record 177 goals in the Premier League.
“I’m very happy because it’s not easy to score 12 hat tricks in the Premier League,” Aguero told ManCity.com. “I’m very proud, because it’s so difficult.”
Riyad Mahrez had two goals and an assist for the Sky Blues. Kevin de Bruyne had two assists in the win.
Mahrez put the Sky Blues on the scoreboard in the 18th minute. Aguero flicked a pass out to the right flank to spark that sequence. Mahrez gained control of the pass before dribbling toward the box. He weaved in between defenders before smacking a shot into the near-post netting, beating Aston Villa goalie Orjan Nyland.
Mahrez scored again in the 24th minute. Aguero dribbled into the box at the start of that play. The Aston Villa defense got the ball away from the Sky Blues star, but mishandled the ball in the box, giving it back to City. Gabriel Jesus sent a short pass to his right as Mahrez came flying into the box. Mahrez grabbed the pass before ripping a shot into the right side of the net for a 2-0 lead.
De Bruyne picked up his first assist on Aguero’s first goal. The Sky Blues midfielder dribbled down the middle of the field before sending a short pass to Aguero. Aguero ripped a shot from 20 yards out, finding the upper left corner of the net and beating a diving Nyland.
Jesus gave the Sky Blues a 4-0 lead at halftime by scoring in first-half stoppage time. De Bruyne curved in a perfect cross to lead to that score. The Sky Blues star dribbled down the right flank before spotting Jesus on the opposite side of the field. De Bruyne proceeded to smack a pass behind the defense, bending it just in front of Nyland and onto the foot of Jesus. The Brazilian striker finished off the feed with a one-touch shot into the right side of the net.
Aguero got his second goal about 11 minutes into the second act. David Silva split two defenders with a perfect pass into the box for Aguero during that exchange. Aguero tapped the ball around four defenders before sending a shot into the lower right corner of the net, beating Nyland for a fifth time.
Mahrez helped Aguero cap off his historic night when he intercepted a pass from the Aston Villa defense in the final 10 minutes. He followed the turnover by sending a quick pass to a wide-open Aguero. Aguero turned into the box before ripping a shot into the right side of the net, over Nyland’s shoulder.
Anwar El Ghazi scored Aston Villa’s only goal on a penalty kick in stoppage time.
“The stats speak for themselves,” Mahrez said of Aguero. “He’s a legend for the club and Premier League. He shows it every week, and I’m very happy to have him in the team.
“He has a lot of quality but he doesn’t need a lot of chances to score, so that shows how big a striker he is.”
Aguero had two hat tricks in 2019. He had three hat tricks in 2018.
“He was a legend already and that legendary status became bigger” Sunday, Sky Blues manager Pep Guardiola said. “He is one of he most incredible players I have seen in this league.
“I think he is proud of what he has achieved and we said congratulations in the locker room, because to score this amount of goals as a foreign player and score so many hat tricks means that for many, many years you have done good things.”
City still trails Liverpool by a large margin in the Premier League standings. The Sky Blues sit in second place with 47 points, while the Reds have 61 points through 21 games. The Sky Blues host Crystal Palace at 10 a.m. EST Saturday at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England.