MAN CITY NEAR CERTAIN TO REACH GROUP STAGE
Sergio Aguero hit a hat trick after failing to score from two early penalties as Manchester City thrashed Steaua Bucharest 5-0 in the first leg of their Champions League playoff Tuesday, virtually assuring a sixth straight season in the group stage.
On a night when City's movement and passing bewildered its Romanian opponent and showed new coach Pep Guardiola's methods are already taking effect, Aguero had one spot kick saved and saw another clip the top of the bar either side of David Silva's 13th-minute opening goal.
Aguero sidefooted home from the edge of the area in the 41st and Nolito scored his first City goal before Aguero added two more in the final 12 minutes in the Romanian capital.
"The result was amazing," Guardiola said, "but the way we played, I am really satisfied."
In other first leg matches, Borussia Moenchengladbach beat Young Boys 3-1 away and Andrija Pavlovic's first-half goal earned Copenhagen a 1-0 win over APOEL. Ajax and Rostov drew 1-1, and Dinamo Zagreb drew 1-1 with Salzburg.
TRANSFER: West Ham signed Argentine striker Jonathan Calleri, 22, on a season-long loan, soon after he competed for his country in the soccer tournament at the Rio Olympics.
Del Potro receives invite to U.S. Open
Fresh off his Olympic silver medal, 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro will return to Flushing Meadows for the first time in three years after receiving a wild-card invitation from the U.S. Tennis Association. Del Potro missed 2½ years' worth of major tournaments because of three operations on his left wrist. His ranking of 141 was too low to gain direct entry into the field for the Grand Slam tournament that starts in New York on Aug. 29. Sunday, del Potro lost to Andy Murray in the men's final at the Rio de Janeiro Games to win the silver medal.
NHL: The Coyotes brought back F Radim Vrbata on a one-year contract. Vrbata, 35, spent the past two seasons with the Canucks after playing six of the previous seven with Phoenix. … The Senators will retire former captain Daniel Alfredsson's No. 11 on Dec. 29.
TRUCKS: The UNOH 200 runs at 8:30 tonight at Bristol Motor Speedway and will be broadcast on FS1.