Aguero brace powers City to EFL Cup quarters

Southampton managed to restore some pride following its dismal defeat to Leicester City, but was still no match for Manchester City.

Sergio Aguero's brace powered Manchester City to a 3-1 win over Southampton in their EFL Cup tie on Tuesday.   -  Getty Images

Sergio Aguero scored twice as Manchester City made light work of Southampton in the EFL Cup, the defending champion easing into the quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium.

Reeling from its 9-0 trouncing against Leicester City last Friday, Southampton - in its first of two outings against City in the space of four days - was little match for Pep Guardiola's side.

Nicolas Otamendi and Aguero had City comfortably in control by half-time, with the latter on hand to nudge City further ahead 11 minutes after the restart.

Two stops in quick succession from Claudio Bravo looked to have ended Southampton's hopes of a consolation, but Jack Stephens headed in with 15 minutes remaining to ensure Ralph Hasenhuttl's side restored some pride.

Southampton went behind after 10 minutes against Leicester, though it did manage to hold on for slightly longer on Tuesday. However, having already kept Angelino at bay, Alex McCarthy could do little to deny Otamendi the opener in the 20th minute - City's centre-back rising between Jan Bednarek and Oriol Romeu to head home.

Aguero should have done better to get a close-range free-kick on target shortly after the half-hour, but he made no mistake when he tucked in from Kyle Walker's cross at the culmination of a slick team move.

City soon had its third early in the second half - Aguero reacting sharply to turn in Riyad Mahrez's deflected shot moments after McCarthy had kept out Bernardo Silva's prod.

Bednarek made an outstanding block from Mahrez's close-range effort, before Bravo was finally called into action to keep out a Sofiane Boufal strike. While the former Barcelona goalkeeper could not deny Stephens to preserve his clean sheet, City still cruised to win.

What does it mean? City well in the hunt for three on the bounce

Winning the EFL Cup has acted as a springboard for dominant City to go on and clinch further titles in previous seasons. With two of Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool set to head out on Wednesday, Guardiola's men look well poised to go on and retain their crown once again this term.

Doyle delights on debut

There has been plenty of clamour for Phil Foden to be given more minutes in City's first XI, but it was fellow teenager Tommy Doyle who was particularly impressive. The grandson of former City player Mike Doyle, the 18-year-old did certainly not look out of place next to Foden and Silva.

Makeshift wing-back Hojbjerg run ragged

Southampton captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is a player Hasenhuttl can always rely on to put in 100 per cent, but the former Bayern Munich midfielder was out of his depth deployed at left wing-back in place of the suspended Ryan Bertrand.

Mahrez had a field day and it was Hojbjerg who was caught out of position as Walker got clear to provide the cross for Aguero to volley in the host's second, while Silva also skipped past him in the build-up to the third.

What's next?

In a quirk of the fixture list, Southampton is back at the Etihad on Saturday, with City its next opponent in the Premier League.

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