Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick as Manchester City survived a scare to book a place in the FA Cup fifth round with a resurgent victory over Watford.

The Championship side stood on the verge of a famous result after Fernando Forestieri finished from Troy Deeney's flick, and Deeney added another for the visitors before half-time.

But a lacklustre City pulled a goal back on the hour when Aguero tucked in, and the Argentine striker then curled in his second to level the tie.

Hornets keeper Jonathan Bond let in Aleksandar Kolarov's shot to gift the 2013 finalists the lead before Aguero completed his hat-trick with a header in the final minute.

Four second-half goals maintained City's 100% home record and four-goal average in domestic competitions this season, as Aguero's personal tally reached 25, but the two late strikes meant the scoreline flattered the hosts.

And City, pursuing a domestic treble in addition to their Champions League aspirations, were pushed close by a superb counter-attacking display from Beppe Sannino's Watford side.

Only Bayern Munich have beaten City at the Etihad during a season in which they have now scored 110 goals in all competitions.

But Manuel Pellegrini's side could not find their usual fluency and in the first half were undone by their opponents' 5-2-3 formation, which allowed them to defend in numbers and break forward quickly.

The visitors repeatedly got the ball forward to the excellent trio of Forestieri, Deeney and Ikechi Anya and the home defenders could not cope.

Forestieri had already wasted one opportunity with a poor touch, before his 21st-minute opener. Cristian Battocchio's diagonal pass was flicked on cleverly by Deeney and this time the Italian kept his head to slot in.

City were without injured striker Alvaro Negredo, but they still fielded a strong side including Yaya Toure and Aguero and could hardly blame their pedestrian start on their line-up.

After half an hour Watford punished that lethargy again. A poor pass out of defence by Martin Demichelis was quickly fired back in by Sean Murray, Anya slipped the ball to Deeney, and the striker easily beat Costel Pantilimon in the City goal.

Seeking to spark his side into life, Pellegrini brought on Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta at half-time and then introduced Stevan Jovetic after 57 minutes.

And three minutes after the last of the substitutions, City had a goal back as Kolarov zipped in a low cross from the left and, although Bond saved Dzeko's effort, Aguero tucked in.

The Argentine brought City level with a curling finish into the top corner as the hosts' momentum grew, but it still looked as if Watford might hang on for a replay.

Then came Bond's error - and, at the death, a fourth from Aguero that at least spared the Hornets keeper the knowledge his slip had been the crucial one.

Watford manager Beppe Sannino:

"I am proud of my lads because today saw my team give this emotion.

"It is a little bit bitter because at 2-2 we were still in the game. We just couldn't manage the last few minutes.

"At the end of the first half I had this desire (to win) but I knew the game was not finished and we had to play for the 90 minutes, and more.

"In the second half Manchester City were unbelievable and showed us their full strength. I tried to change things but the quality of Manchester City is far superior than any change you can make tactically."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Manchester City

  • 30 Pantilimon
  • 02 Richards (Zabaleta - 45' )
  • 13 Kolarov
  • 42 Yaya Touré
  • 26 Demichelis
  • 06 Lescott
  • 15 Jesús Navas
  • 17 Rodwell (Kompany - 45' )
  • 16 Agüero
  • 10 Dzeko Booked
  • 64 Mesquita Lopes (Jovetic - 57' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Hart
  • 04 Kompany
  • 05 Zabaleta
  • 22 Clichy
  • 25 Fernandinho
  • 33 Nastasic
  • 35 Jovetic

Watford

  • 30 Bond
  • 19 Faraoni (Fabbrini - 85' )
  • 18 Pudil Booked
  • 04 Angella
  • 06 Ekstrand
  • 12 Doyley
  • 07 Battocchio
  • 16 Murray (Abdi - 75' )
  • 09 Deeney
  • 11 Forestieri (Cassetti - 60' Booked )
  • 21 Anya

Substitutes

  • 01 Almunia
  • 13 Ranegie
  • 20 Fabbrini
  • 22 Abdi
  • 27 Cassetti
  • 31 Hoban
  • 32 O'Nien
Ref: Kevin Friend
Att: 46,514

Match Stats

Shots

22 14

On target

9 2

Corners

10 2

Fouls

6 12

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Manchester City 4, Watford 2.

90:00 +4:36 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Manchester City 4, Watford 2.

90:00 +2:37

Attempt missed. Gabriele Angella (Watford) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the right. Assisted by Diego Fabbrini.

90:00 +1:36 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester City 4, Watford 2. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) header from the left side of the six yard box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jesús Navas with a cross.

90:00 +0:25

Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90:00 +0:25

Foul by Joel Ekstrand (Watford).

88:50

Offside, Watford. Ikechi Anya tries a through ball, but Diego Fabbrini is caught offside.

87:14

Attempt missed. Ikechi Anya (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Troy Deeney with a through ball.

85:33 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester City 3, Watford 2. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Yaya Touré.

85:00

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Daniel Pudil.

84:05 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Watford. Diego Fabbrini replaces Marco Davide Faraoni.

83:39

Offside, Manchester City. Stevan Jovetic tries a through ball, but Sergio Agüero is caught offside.

81:35 Booking

Booking Marco Cassetti (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

81:25

Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

81:25

Foul by Marco Cassetti (Watford).

79:03

Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

79:03

Foul by Gabriele Angella (Watford).

77:57 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester City 2, Watford 2. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Edin Dzeko.

74:04 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Watford. Almen Abdi replaces Sean Murray.

71:53

Foul by Edin Dzeko (Manchester City).

71:53

Cristian Battocchio (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

70:16

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Marco Davide Faraoni.

70:07

Attempt blocked. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Martín Demichelis.

69:53

Attempt blocked. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

69:10

Offside, Watford. Troy Deeney tries a through ball, but Ikechi Anya is caught offside.

67:48

Attempt blocked. Stevan Jovetic (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Martín Demichelis.

65:10

Attempt saved. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Vincent Kompany.

64:22

Martín Demichelis (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

64:22

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

63:29

Attempt missed. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Yaya Touré.

60:44

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Marco Davide Faraoni.

60:39

Attempt blocked. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Edin Dzeko with a headed pass.

59:59 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Watford. Marco Cassetti replaces Fernando Forestieri.

58:28 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester City 1, Watford 2. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

58:26

Attempt saved. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Aleksandar Kolarov with a cross.

57:30

Attempt missed. Stevan Jovetic (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Aleksandar Kolarov with a cross.

56:53 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester City. Stevan Jovetic replaces Marcos Lopes.

56:20

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Daniel Pudil.

55:42

Attempt saved. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jesús Navas.

55:05

Attempt missed. Daniel Pudil (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.

54:32

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Joleon Lescott.

53:38

Attempt missed. Lloyd Doyley (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.

53:08

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Joleon Lescott.

52:27

Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

52:27

Foul by Fernando Forestieri (Watford).

51:04

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Daniel Pudil.

49:28

Foul by Martín Demichelis (Manchester City).

49:28

Fernando Forestieri (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

48:37

Attempt missed. Martín Demichelis (Manchester City) header from the left side of the six yard box misses to the right. Assisted by Aleksandar Kolarov with a cross following a corner.

48:14

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Lloyd Doyley.

47:33 Booking

Booking Daniel Pudil (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

47:26

Jesús Navas (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

47:26

Foul by Daniel Pudil (Watford).

46:06

Attempt blocked. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

45:34

Jesús Navas (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

45:34

Foul by Gabriele Angella (Watford).

45:00

Second Half begins Manchester City 0, Watford 2.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester City. Pablo Zabaleta replaces Micah Richards.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester City. Vincent Kompany replaces Jack Rodwell.

45:00 +2:08 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Manchester City 0, Watford 2.

44:43

Attempt missed. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Yaya Touré.

44:02

Attempt missed. Daniel Pudil (Watford) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Marco Davide Faraoni with a cross.

43:07

Attempt missed. Marcos Lopes (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jack Rodwell.

42:08

Attempt missed. Marco Davide Faraoni (Watford) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.

42:06

Attempt blocked. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Daniel Pudil.

41:23

Offside, Watford. Daniel Pudil tries a through ball, but Ikechi Anya is caught offside.

40:28

Micah Richards (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

40:28

Foul by Fernando Forestieri (Watford).

40:20

Attempt blocked. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sergio Agüero.

37:23

Offside, Watford. Cristian Battocchio tries a through ball, but Troy Deeney is caught offside.

36:42

Foul by Micah Richards (Manchester City).

36:42

Fernando Forestieri (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

33:55

Offside, Watford. Lloyd Doyley tries a through ball, but Fernando Forestieri is caught offside.

33:15

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

32:08

Delay in match Troy Deeney (Watford) because of an injury.

31:12

Foul by Edin Dzeko (Manchester City).

31:12

Joel Ekstrand (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

30:41

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Lloyd Doyley.

28:13 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester City 0, Watford 2. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ikechi Anya with a through ball.

27:00

Attempt missed. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Marco Davide Faraoni.

24:48

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Gabriele Angella.

24:46

Attempt saved. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Yaya Touré.

24:24

Yaya Touré (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

24:24

Foul by Cristian Battocchio (Watford).

22:20

Attempt saved. Jack Rodwell (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

21:38

Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

21:38

Foul by Lloyd Doyley (Watford).

19:58 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester City 0, Watford 1. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Troy Deeney with a through ball.

15:14

Attempt blocked. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sergio Agüero.

14:22

Micah Richards (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

14:22

Foul by Gabriele Angella (Watford).

11:56

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Joel Ekstrand.

11:27

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Daniel Pudil.

10:15

Attempt missed. Micah Richards (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jesús Navas with a cross following a set piece situation.

9:53 Booking

Booking Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card.

8:45

Micah Richards (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

8:45

Foul by Gabriele Angella (Watford).

7:13

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

6:18

Delay in match Ikechi Anya (Watford) because of an injury.

5:54

Attempt missed. Ikechi Anya (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Cristian Battocchio with a through ball.

3:55

Foul by Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City).

3:55

Marco Davide Faraoni (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

3:15

Attempt missed. Cristian Battocchio (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a set piece situation.

3:12

Attempt blocked. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

2:10

Foul by Yaya Touré (Manchester City).

2:10

Fernando Forestieri (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

0:23

Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Gabriele Angella.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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