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Agbonlahor hat-trick sinks City

SoccerNews in English Premier League 17 Aug 2008

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A hat-trick delivered within the space of seven minutes by Gabriel Agbonlahor secured a 4-2 home win at Villa Park on Sunday over Manchester City.

Things didn’t look brilliant for the visitors even before the referee blew the start whistle. City’s Bulgarian striker Valeri Bojinov hobbled off the field during the warm up, to be replaced by Ched Evans.

Later, it was announced the ex-Fiorentina man had snapped an Achilles tendon and can be expected to be unavailable for months.

After a goal-less first half, John Carew was in exactly the right place when Gareth Barry crossed from the left shortly after the resumption.

Villa’s Norwegian international had threatened to score in similar style following a corner just seven minutes into the match but on that occasion he nodded just wide.

Fifteen minutes after Villa’s opening goal, the referee awarded a penalty against Martin O’Neill’s side when Ashley Young tripped defender Michael Johnson, and Elano made sure of a welcome opportunity to balance the score.

However, seven minutes later, Agbonlahor put Villa ahead again with a close range volley following a corner.

Just as the Villa Park fans were settling down from this excitement, the 21 year old secured the home side’s advantage with a header. It was followed in quick succession by his third, when he collected from Barry and sped towards the target, evading City keeper Joe Hart and finding the right-hand side of the net.

Faced with this unexpected onslaught, the sky blues’ manager Mark Hughes applied some emergency treatment, taking off the ineffective Ced Evans and Fernandes and deploying Stephen Ireland and Daniel Sturridge instead.

The transfusion of few blood inspired a City recovery, with Corluka scoring from the left after the visitors won a corner.

In spite of the best efforts of Dr Hughes though, City’s trauma proved too severe as Villa bagged the points.

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