Sergio Agüero is probably man of the match while breaking scoring records in City.
On 64 minutes the Etihad Stadium rose to acclaim Sergio Agüero’s entrance as Manchester City’s record scorer trotted out in the club’s colours for the 389th and possibly final time.
The adoring crowd had been granted what they so wanted by Pep Guardiola: a last sight of a 258-goal genius to crown this Premier League title-celebration jamboree through which City had cruised thanks to strikes from Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden.
What the 10,000 returning fans now hoped for was a 259th strike, and, guess what? Agüero did not disappoint.
First the No 10 bamboozled Mason Holgate with a shimmy that sent the Everton defender into a different postcode, then with the outside of that lethal right foot he gave Jordan Pickford in Everton’s goal no chance.
Cue pandemonium and the cheekiest of grins with a hint of endearing nonchalance from the little wizard.
Agüero had been on the pitch for seven minutes.
What was already a grandstand finish became a scarcely credible fairytale five minutes later when his 260th strike arrived.
Premier League goal No 184 – to pull the Argentinean ahead of Wayne Rooney at Manchester United for the most in the competition for one club – came via a peach of a header that had him leaping high before thudding the ball in to Pickford’s left.
Agüero’s opener was celebrated by a mob of teammates including Ederson, who raced 90 yards from his penalty area to join in.
The second was greeted with laughter and disbelief at the extraordinary events being witnessed.
On the closing day of the 2011-12 season the centre-forward scored his famous “93:20” Premier League title-sealing goal.
Eerily a chance came in the same zone – near-in to the visitors’ left post – as it had against Queens Park Rangers for him to complete the hat-trick, but this time Pickford saved.
There were other hat-trick opportunities for Agüero – notably via a header – but it was not to be.
Yet this ended as a quite magical cameo on the day City paraded the championship trophy ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final against Chelsea.
This was Agüero’s fifth crown for City – three for Guardiola, plus one each under Manuel Pellegrini and Roberto Mancini.
Recalling the QPR goal the 32-year-old was self-deprecating.
“That game – I remember I played shit,” he said at the ceremony afterwards to mark his departure. “But then at 2-2 I thought [come on].”
With Chelsea losing to Aston Villa but still sneaking a top-four berth, Guardiola’s men will start as favourites in Porto. Worthy of note in this game was how Guardiola blended his side: this was partly an exercise in keeping first-choices in form and partly an audition for those who might force their way in.
De Bruyne, making his comeback from injury after three weeks out, fell into the former category.
So when the totemic Belgian collected from Mahrez after 11 minutes, padded forward, then curled his finish beyond Pickford for his 10th goal of the season it was a particular delight for player and manager.
Next, Raheem Sterling, a member of the fringe-contenders group, showed a hunger Guardiola will have noted when pickpocketing Michael Keane near halfway.
The ball went to De Bruyne and his pass to Jesus became an assist as the Brazilian notched his 50th Premier League strike.
Everton were being made top play the role of unwilling patsies by a relentless blue wave.
A bullet-paced Fernandinho header was coolly pulled down by Mahrez before his ball, which was aimed at a lurking Sterling at the far post, was somehow cleared by the visitors.
There was no way out for Carlo Ancelotti’s men. Even when Lucas Digne broke from a Foden corner he looked up to see no black-shirted teammate there to support him.
Instead Kyle Walker and John Stones led the cavalry back to protect Ederson and Everton’s spirit was further punctured.
The second half became a full-on carnival for City when Foden slotted in with ease, the youngster’s 18th goal this term being applauded by Agüero, who was warming up.
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Next came Agüero’s introduction, which topped off a memorable afternoon in the blue half of town.
For the trophy presentation the PA played all the home favourites, including ditties about how “City win/United lose/City – you got me singing the blues”, and Oasis’s Don’t Look Back In Anger.
Regarding Agüero, there will only be delight when recalling the 32-year-old’s decade at the club.
This is a hugely popular man whose mischievous sense of humour was in evidence when he jokingly went for a City staff member’s crutch as they embraced.
As a special tribute Martin Tyler recreated his “Agüeroooooooooo” commentary of the 93:20 goal live in the stadium, which came after a reel of former City players including Joe Hart, Nigel de Jong, David Silva and Vincent Kompany paying tribute to him was shown.
In this fast-moving business the future for City is now their tilt at a first Champions League triumph. Achieve this and the greatest chapter in the club’s history will be written.