Sergio Aguero missed two penalties in the first 20 minutes and then scored a hat-trick as Manchester City romped to a 5-0 win at Steaua Bucharest in the first leg of their Champions League playoff on Tuesday.
David Silva and Nolito were also on target against the crestfallen former European champions who were spared an even heavier defeat as the visitors hit the woodwork three times.
Borussia Moenchengladbach also took a big step towards qualifying for the group stage with a 3-1 victory at Swiss side Young Boys.
Former European champions Ajax Amsterdam were held 1-1 at home by Russians Rostov while Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb also had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Austrians Salzburg.
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