Raheem Sterling scores first hat-trick of senior career

Raheem Sterling’s first-half hat-trick ensured Manchester City stayed top of the Premier League with a 5-1 will over Bournemouth on Saturday.

Sterling, who had previously scored just twice for City since his £49 million (66.6 million euros) summer move from Liverpool, took advantage of uncertainty in the visitors’ ranks after they lost goalkeeper Artur Boruc to an injury in the warm-up.

Glenn Murray pulled Bournemouth to 2-1 midway through the first half, but Sterling struck, completing his hat-trick following a mix-up involving Federici and midfielder Andrew Surman before Bony added another late on.

Federici was blameless as Sterling touched in a seventh minute opener –- possibly from an offside position –- after Pablo Zabaleta had charged forward to head Fernandinho’s diagonal pass across goal, and Bony had touched on.

The Australian goalkeeper, though, made a horrendous mistake four minutes later, fumbling a straightforward Bacary Sagna cross delivered from the left, and allowing Bony to run the ball into the net.

It was to Bournemouth’s credit that they did not fold there and then.

Federici made a fine flying save to tip aside a Kevin De Bruyne shot moments later, before Murray took advantage of some slack City defending to pull a goal back.

Murray, once of City’s lower-league neighbours Stockport and Rochdale, strode forward as defender Eliaquim Mangala backed off, and drove a shot past Joe Hart from the edge of the penalty area.

The home side responded quickly, though, as Sterling broke on to De Bruyne’s perfectly-weighted pass, left Steve Cook and former City captain Sylvain Distin on the floor with a couple of neat feints, and steered in his second goal.

Federici did brilliantly to tip a De Bruyne shot on to the bar after that, but his first half ended with more misery, as he got into a mix-up with Andrew Surman in dealing with a long ball, and Jesus Navas nipped in.

Federici denied Navas, but Sterling steered the rebound between the keeper’s legs for a first-half hat-trick.

Sterling had two more chances to add goals, but his first-half composure failed him, hitting the side netting with one opening and rolling another wide.

Midfielder Yaya Toure’s half-time withdrawal checked City’s momentum, and their fans will be hoping that manager Manuel Pellegrini was being nothing more than cautious in taking him off.




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