Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Manchester City routed defending champion Porto 4-0 to reach the last 16 of soccer’s Europa League as manager Roberto Mancini said striker Carlos Tevez may return to first-team action within three weeks.
Sergio Aguero scored after 19 seconds last night in Manchester and Edin Dzeko, David Silva and David Pizarro added second-half goals as City completed a 6-1 victory over two games. Porto’s Jorge Rolando was sent off in the second half after receiving his second yellow card.
City entered Europe’s second-tier club competition in this round after failing to advance out of the group stage of the elite Champions League. The Premier League leader will next face Legia Warsaw or Sporting Lisbon. The round of 16 starts March 8.
“We want to get to the final if possible but it will be difficult,” Mancini said on City’s website. “With teams like Manchester United, Valencia and Schalke in, it’s like the Champions League.”
City took less than a minute to extend its 2-1 advantage from the first match in Portugal. Porto’s Nicolas Otamendi gave the ball away in his area and Yaya Toure slid a pass between two defenders to Aguero, who put a shot inside the far post for his 20th goal of the season.
Aguero hit the crossbar later in the half with a chipped shot after Porto goalkeeper Helton raced outside the area for a loose ball. James Rodriguez was then ruled offside as he scored for the visiting team in the 58th minute.
Rolando’s Red Card
City increased its lead with 14 minutes remaining when Dzeko converted a pass from Aguero. Rolando was sent off for arguing with referee Wolfgang Stark following the goal and Silva and Pizarro added late scores to complete the rout.
“I didn’t think we were at our best but we did exactly what we needed to,” City captain Vincent Kompany said. “Today showed how serious we are about this competition.”
Mancini said Tevez, City’s leading goal scorer the past two seasons, may be considered for a return to action in the next few weeks. The Argentine striker two nights ago apologized for his conduct following a touchline disagreement with Mancini in a game at Bayern Munich in September that led to him leaving the team for three months without permission.
“One week after Munich I called him to my house and said, ‘Carlos, apologize to everyone and it’s finished,’” Mancini said. “I have no problem. I think he needs two to three weeks to train, then some games.”
The round of 32 concludes tonight with 15 matches, including Manchester United taking a 2-0 lead into its second leg against Ajax at Old Trafford. United striker Wayne Rooney will miss the match because of a sore throat and may be replaced by Dimitar Berbatov, manager Alex Ferguson said yesterday.
--Editors: Dan Baynes, Dex McLuskey
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