Manchester City eye record books as Burnley feel aggrieved
Aspersions cast on manner of ‘defining’ penalty as Aguero equals club scoring record
Sergio Aguero of Manchester City scores his side’s first goal against Burnley at Etihad Stadium. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Sergio Aguero equalled City’s goalscoring record of 177 when he struck from the spot after Nick Pope was controversially adjudged to have fouled Bernardo Silva in the first half at the Etihad Stadium.
Late goals from Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sané secured City’s club-record-equalling 11th successive win and took them five points clear at the top of the Premier League, but the penalty remained the main talking point.
City manager Guardiola said: “It’s a penalty, I saw it. He touched – the goalkeeper – the right foot of Bernardo.”
Burnley’s players complained that Silva had exaggerated the contact at the time and Clarets boss was in no doubt the decision by referee Roger East was a soft one.
Dyche said: “To be clear, I don’t think it was defining. They are a fine side, so you can’t say that is going to affect the total outcome.
“There is contact. I don’t know how the ref sees it because it is that instant, it’s minimal and to get that high off the floor with your arms above your head is almost a skill in itself. I’m quite impressed by how far he travelled. If I kicked my kid in the garden I don’t think he’d fall like that.
“The deciding factor is: there is contact, but I don’t think there is enough contact to fall in that fashion.”
Aguero was playing his first match since breaking a rib in a car crash in Amsterdam three weeks ago.
His attempts to equal the City record have been on hold since he missed a penalty on his last appearance against Shakhtar Donetsk. He made no mistake on this occasion.
Guardiola said: “It was so important today to equal the record as soon as possible. He is going to break it and it will be something special.
“It is so important for him to be the top scorer in the whole history of the club. We are happy to have that moment with him.”
City now have a cushion at the top after rivals Manchester United were surprisingly beaten at Huddersfield.
But Guardiola said: “In May, yes, it will be significant. In October, no.”
Overall, however, Dyche admitted City were impressive.
He said: “I am not remotely saying if that went for us we would go and beat Man City today because they are a fantastic side. They are cruising at the moment.”
Made to wait
Aguero’s goal took him level with Eric Brook, who scored 177 for City between 1927 and 1939, but he will have to wait to claim the record outright after being substituted in the 76th minute.
He actually had a quiet start to the game as City, despite dominating possession, struggled to break Burnley down.
Ederson dived at his feet and quickly rose to prevent Scott Arfield following up with a shot, but Wood was injured in the collision and was forced off soon after.
City played a patient game and gradually began to create chances. Bernardo Silva should have opened the scoring after Sané skipped around a challenge and pulled the ball back but the Portuguese shot straight at Nick Pope.
The perceived penalty injustice spurred Burnley on and Arfield had a shot deflected wide.
But City also reacted strongly. Aguero blasted wide and had two good efforts saved by Pope. The ball ran free to Bernardo Silva from one of them, but James Tarkowski, not entirely intentionally, got his head in the way of a powerful shot.
City continued to dominate after the break, although Burnley retained their shape and did cause a few moments of anxiety.
David Silva threatened with a long-range drive that screwed wide while Walker delivered a low ball across the box that Aguero could not turn in.
The second goal eventually came after 73 minutes and from an unconventional route – for City at least – as Otamendi got forward for a corner. The Argentinian met Sané’s cross with a powerful header that Steven Defour could not keep out.
Moments later the points were wrapped up as De Bruyne picked out Sané with a now typical defence-splitting through-ball. The German raced into the area and lashed a low shot past Pope.