Laporte injury casts cloud over City victory

MANCHESTER • Sergio Aguero scored twice to continue his prolific start to the new season but Pep Guardiola's satisfaction at Saturday's comfortable 4-0 victory over Brighton was tempered by a worrying knee injury suffered by French defender Aymeric Laporte.

The Manchester City manager had described Laporte as the best left-sided central defender in Europe on Friday, a day after he was called into Didier Deschamps' national squad, and was looking forward to his star finally making his international debut this weekend.

Instead, Laporte was stretchered off after twisting awkwardly in fouling Adam Webster on 33 minutes, and the former Athletic Bilbao defender could be facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

"He's in hospital, it doesn't look good," said Guardiola.

"He is off because he didn't feel good obviously. We will see exactly what he has, I don't know. I'm waiting for the doctor to call me and tell me what he has but he will be out for a while. Hopefully not like Leroy Sane, but we will see."

City have already lost German winger Sane for up to seven months after he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in the Community Shield, although his absence has hardly interrupted his team's strong start to the campaign.

The loss of Laporte could be more damaging with City having failed to replace Vincent Kompany last summer and with John Stones absent on Saturday with an injury.

The Laporte issue was the only black mark on another productive afternoon for Guardiola.

City took just 69 seconds to establish their dominance when Kevin de Bruyne finished clinically from 10 yards after Oleksandr Zinchenko had sent away David Silva, who pulled the ball back intelligently.

Aguero then took over with goals either side of the interval. He has now scored six times in four games this season, matching Edin Dzeko, eight years ago, and Chris Sutton in 1997, for the most Premier League goals scored in August.

"I think Sergio has scored goals in Argentina when he was six years old, in England with all the managers he has had and with the national team - he will die scoring goals," said Guardiola.

"He's a special talent and I love that from day one he has tried to do it. We changed many things - the messages, how we wanted him to play, but from day one I am delighted with his commitment."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2019, with the headline 'Laporte injury casts cloud over City victory'. Print Edition | Subscribe