EPL: Aguero, Toure soothe Man City`s title pain

London: Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure scored a pair of fine goals as Manchester City began life as former Premier League champions by winning 2-1 at home to West Ham United on Saturday.

City relinquished their league crown to Manchester United earlier in the week but their success over mid-table West Ham tightens their grip on second place and takes them closer to Champions League qualification.

Aguero opened the scoring with a well-worked effort after 28 minutes on a bright, sunny day at the Etihad Stadium.

It was a goal to nourish further regrets about City`s inability to challenge United, with Samir Nasri and David Silva exchanging passes on the left before the Frenchman centred for Aguero to clip the ball beneath Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Toure settled the game seven minutes from time with another memorable strike that saw him arrow a rising left-foot shot into the top-left corner from the edge of the area.

The only blemish on City`s day came in injury time, when goalkeeper Joe Hart allowed a powerful Andy Carroll shot to squirm between his legs and over the line.

"I`m happy for this performance," said City manager Roberto Mancini.

"I`m unhappy for the goals we missed, as we could have scored more goals, but this has been our problem this season."

With United having secured the title by beating Aston Villa on Monday, the attention this weekend focuses on the twin battles to avoid relegation and secure a place in the Champions League.

The two sagas converge at the DW Stadium, where third-bottom Wigan Athletic are bidding to haul themselves out of the relegation zone and fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur hope to break into the top four.

With third-place Arsenal and fourth-place Chelsea both in action on Sunday, a win for Spurs will send them up to third in the table.

Two sides aiming to pull away from the bottom three clash at the Britannia Stadium as Norwich City visit Stoke City, while fifth-bottom Newcastle United host a Liverpool side reeling after striker Luis Suarez was handed a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea`s Branislav Ivanovic.

Elsewhere, Everton will look to reinvigorate their push for European football at home to Fulham, while the day`s other game sees Southampton tackle West Bromwich Albion.


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