The FA Cup
Man CityManchester City4WatfordWatford2

Manchester City 4-2 Watford

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport at Etihad Stadium
Sergio Aguero scores

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."


Man City

Formation 4-4-2

  • 30Pantilimon
  • 2RichardsSubstituted forZabaletaat 45'minutes
  • 13Kolarov
  • 42Y Touré
  • 26Demichelis
  • 6Lescott
  • 15Navas
  • 17RodwellSubstituted forKompanyat 45'minutes
  • 16Agüero
  • 10DzekoBooked at 10mins
  • 64Rony LopesSubstituted forJoveticat 57'minutes


  • 1Hart
  • 4Kompany
  • 5Zabaleta
  • 22Clichy
  • 25Fernandinho
  • 33Nastasic
  • 35Jovetic


Formation 3-4-3

  • 30Bond
  • 19FaraoniSubstituted forFabbriniat 85'minutes
  • 18PudilBooked at 48mins
  • 4Angella
  • 6Ekstrand
  • 12Doyley
  • 7Battocchio
  • 16MurraySubstituted forAbdiat 75'minutes
  • 9Deeney
  • 11ForestieriSubstituted forCassettiat 60'minutesBooked at 82mins
  • 21Anya


  • 1Almunia
  • 13Ranegie
  • 20Fabbrini
  • 22Abdi
  • 27Cassetti
  • 31Hoban
  • 32O'Nien
Kevin Friend

Match Stats

Home TeamMan CityAway TeamWatford
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester City 4, Watford 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester City 4, Watford 2.

  3. Post update

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

  4. 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.

  5. Post update

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

  6. Post update

    Foul by Joel Ekstrand (Watford).

  7. Post update

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

  8. Post update

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Daniel Pudil.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Diego Fabbrini replaces Marco Davide Faraoni.

  12. Post update

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

  13. Booking

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

  14. Post update

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

  15. Post update

    Foul by Marco Cassetti (Watford).

  16. Post update

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

  17. Post update

    Foul by Gabriele Angella (Watford).

  18. 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.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Almen Abdi replaces Sean Murray.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Edin Dzeko (Manchester City).