By Andy Hampson, PA
Sergio Aguero scored twice in a fairytale Etihad Stadium farewell as champions Manchester City wrapped up their Premier League campaign by thrashing Everton 5-0.
City’s record goalscorer, who is leaving the club after next week’s Champions League final, hit a quickfire double having come off the bench with 25 minutes remaining.
His efforts added to earlier strikes from Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden as City showed no sign of letting up ahead of the showpiece clash against Chelsea in Porto.
Everton, who had gone into the game with a chance of qualifying for Europe, were completely overwhelmed on an emotional occasion which saw City presented with the Premier League trophy and fans return to the stadium.
The Merseysiders, for whom Gylfi Sigurdsson missed a penalty, slumped to 10th in the table on what was a miserable afternoon for them.
For City, it was a celebration. Not only were supporters back after 14 months away but it was their first chance to salute the champions and acknowledge their European exploits.
The fans certainly made their presence felt throughout the afternoon. Before the game big numbers spilled into the road as City’s team coaches made what is normally a straightforward journey from the training complex to the stadium.
Only 10,000 were permitted inside the stadium but the atmosphere they generated inspired the team and few left before the post-match ceremonies, which included the club tributes to Aguero.
Everton formed a guard of honour to greet City to the field and players from both sides then did likewise for Aguero.
Supporters would have to wait to see the Argentinian in action, however. The striker, having been troubled by a muscular injury in recent weeks, was not fit enough to play the full 90 minutes and had asked manager Pep Guardiola if he could start from the bench.
He looked on as City soon hit their stride. They took the lead with 11 minutes gone as De Bruyne brilliantly controlled a powerfully-hit crossfield pass from Riyad Mahrez and bent a low shot past Jordan Pickford from the edge of the area.
Within moments the lead was 2-0 as Fernandinho robbed Michael Keane on halfway and De Bruyne released Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian raced into the area and cut inside Ben Godfrey to clip a fine shot over Pickford.
City clearly wanted more with De Bruyne forcing another save from Pickford and Raheem Sterling also going through but being flagged offside.
Everton attacks were a rarity but they were awarded a penalty after 32 minutes when Richarlison broke through and was challenged in the area by Ruben Dias and Ederson. Either collision could have resulted in a foul but, with Dias booked, it seemed the Portuguese was the one punished.
Ederson ensured it would matter little in the final reckoning as he confidently pushed away Sigurdsson’s effort from the spot.
City stepped it up in response with Mahrez hitting the bar and Foden having an effort deflected wide early in the second half. Dias then shot at Pickford and Jesus fired over before Foden showed brilliant footwork in the area to make it 3-0 after good work from Jesus and Sterling.
City sent on Aguero with just under half an hour remaining and he soon made his mark.
The Argentinian made it 4-0 as he jinked through the area in the 71st minute and deftly flicked the ball past Pickford with the outstep of his right boot.
He claimed his second, and City’s fifth, soon after as he leapt from the edge of the area to plant a header past Pickford from a Fernandinho cross.
He could even have had a hat-trick as he connected with another header but this time Pickford saved.