SUNDERLAND, United Kingdom (AFP) – Sergio Aguero scored twice to take his season’s tally to 19 as Manchester City maintained the pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea with a 4-1 win at Sunderland on Wednesday.
Manuel Pellegrini’s defending champions recovered from going behind to Connor Wickham’s early goal as they cruised to a fourth consecutive victory.
Aguero, who seems almost unplayable in this kind of form, and Stevan Jovetic put them ahead before the break, with Pablo Zabaleta claiming the third and Aguero rounding off the scoring 19 minutes from time.
Sunderland had frustrated Chelsea, holding them to a stalemate in their previous game at the Stadium of Light.
But they had no answer against a City side who preserved the six-point gap between themselves and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea thanks to a seventh victory in their last 11 league games.
A different outcome momentarily looked possible as the hosts were rewarded for a bright opening by a 19th-minute goal that owed everything to the determination and persistence of Wickham.
Zabaleta had already hacked a goalbound effort from ex-City midfielder Jack Rodwell off the line when Wickham sprinted on to Sebastian Larsson’s return pass into the area.
Zabaleta was fractionally first to the ball, but the defender’s attempted clearance cannoned off the forward and beyond Joe Hart from 10 yards.
But Sunderland’s hopes of recording a Premier League record-equalling fifth consecutive 1-0 home win over City lasted less than two minutes, as the visitors levelled with their first attack after going behind.
Jovetic combined with Fernandinho to thread a pass through to Aguero, who easily beat Sebastian Coates, the on-loan Liverpool defender making his league debut for Sunderland.
Aguero had just one intent as he surged into the area to unleash a powerful right-foot drive from 16 yards that sped beyond Costel Pantilimon and into the net at the former City goalkeeper’s near post.