Raheem Sterling scored an early goal and struck again in second-half injury time to help Manchester City beat West Ham 3-1 in the English Premier League on Sunday.
Fernandinho scored the other goal for City, which has won its first three matches of the campaign under new coach Pep Guardiola to be level on points with title rivals Manchester United and Chelsea.
It didn’t come easy for City, though, with Michail Antonio’s 58th-minute header making it 2-1 and setting up a tense finish at Etihad Stadium.
City’s passing and movement was irresistible in the first half, with Sterling’s sidefooted finish in the seventh minute coming from one of the team’s many flowing moves. Fernandinho added a second goal in the 18th minute with a powerful header from Kevin de Bruyne’s free kick.
It needed Sterling’s second goal, when he rounded the goalkeeper and scored from an acute angle, to settle City’s nerves but Guardiola will be concerned with how his team’s level dropped in the second half. He might also be worried about the immediate future of striker Sergio Aguero, who appeared to thrown an elbow at Winston Reid in a second-half incident not seen by officials.
City’s next game is against United, after the international break.
City played at an intensity and zip that West Ham couldn’t live with in the first half. Even then, Guardiola didn’t stop gesticulating to his players, wanting more, demanding perfection and showing his disapproval when City conceded possession.
West Ham’s players had barely touched the ball by the time its goalkeeper Adrian was picking it out of the net.
David Silva carved open the visiting defense with a through-ball to Nolito, who squared a cross for Sterling to steer home with a first-time shot from a central position.
City took a more direct route for the second, with De Bruyne curling over a pacey free kick which Fernandinho met with a thumping header that flew past Adrian.
West Ham will have been happy to go into halftime only 2-0 down but Antonio’s header a replica of his winner against Bournemouth last weekend meant this was no longer an exhibition for City.
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