Sergio Aguero struck twice in the closing minutes to complete a hat-trick and revive Manchester City’s Champions League hopes with a 3-2 win over ten-man Bayern Munich.
Scorers: Manchester City - Aguero (22 pen, 85, 90); Bayern Munich - Alonso (40), Lewandowski (45)
City’s challenge had looked all but over after Aguero’s early penalty was cancelled out by quickfire goals from Xabi Alonso and Robert Lewandowski before half-time. But Aguero seized on a mistake from the otherwise brilliant Alonso to equalise with five minutes remaining and then broke through again after a Jerome Boateng error for a brilliant winner.
The victory was City’s first of the competition and brought them level with Roma and CSKA Moscow in Group E with a trip to the Italian capital to come next month.
City certainly did it the hard way after surrendering their early advantage. Aguero struck from the spot after being brought down by Medhi Benatia, who was sent off for his challenge. But they were unable to build on that advantage and it was left to the prolific Aguero to save them.
CSKA Moscow’s last-gasp draw against Roma had meant City could not be eliminated on the night and the atmosphere, flat in home European games this season, reflected that hope.
City responded by making a lively start and they went ahead in the 21st minute. Frank Lampard released Aguero with a fine long pass. The Argentinian raced into the area and looked to have the better of Benatia before the Moroccan brought him down with an ill-timed challenge.
Czech referee Pavel Kralovec did not hurry his decision but correctly pointed to the spot and showed the red card to Benatia.
Aguero’s spot-kick was clinical and Lampard went close to hitting a second soon after with a shot that flew narrowly wide.
But Bayern quickly readjusted to the loss of a man, with Sebastian Rode sacrificed for Dante and Alonso commanding more of the ball to dictate play.
The Spanish schemer started to edge his battle with Lampard and showed his eye for goal with a superb free-kick.
Lewandowski was brought down by Eliaquim Mangala on the edge of the box after 40 minutes and Alonso caught Joe Hart unawares by calmly stroking a low shot past the wall and into the bottom corner.
City were behind before they had time to regroup as their former player Boateng, scorer against them in September, again undid them. Boateng floated in a cross that dipped over Vincent Kompany and Lewandowski outmuscled Bacary Sagna to send the ball looping into the net off his shoulder.
It might have got worse for City early in the second half as Alonso drove forward and exchanged passes with Franck Ribery before curling over.
Just as the game looked to be drifting away from City Alonso misplaced a pass and Aguero broke clear to tuck a low shot past Manuel Neuer.
City suddenly found an extra gear and when Boateng was hurried into a clearance in the last minute, Aguero was on hand again to pounce and beat Neuer from close range.
Man City: Hart, Sagna (Zabaleta 68), Kompany, Mangala, Clichy, Fernando, Milner (Jovetic 66), Jesus Navas, Lampard, Nasri, Aguero (Demichelis 90). Subs Not Used: Caballero, Boyata, Glendon, Pozo.
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Rafinha, Benatia, Boateng, Bernat, Hojbjerg, Alonso, Rode (Dante 25), Robben, Lewandowski (Shaqiri 84), Ribery (Schweinsteiger 80). Subs Not Used: Zingerle, Gaudino, Gotze, Muller.