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Aguero grabs winner for Man City as Laporte makes return

Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a sixth goal in his last three Premier League games and earn Manchester City a 1-0 win over Sheffield United on Tuesday.

The Argentina striker tapped in at the far post in the 73rd minute following another perfectly weighted cross from Kevin De Bruyne, giving the Belgian his 15th assist of the campaign.

Aguero had come on six minutes earlier as a substitute for Gabriel Jesus, who had a first-half penalty saved by Dean Henderson.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero scores his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Sheffield United and Manchester City at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP PhotoRui Vieira)

As important as the victory for City was the return of France center back Aymeric Laporte after nearly five months out with a serious knee injury.

Laporte, City's best defender, was roughed up by Sheffield United’s players - the Frenchman was taken out by Mo Besic in a dangerous tackle and then elbowed to the ground attempting to defend a corner, both in the first half - but left the field in the 78th minute with City’s clean sheet intact. City manager Pep Guardiola gave him a pat on the back.

Second-place City moved 13 points behind Liverpool, having played two games more than the runaway leaders.

Manchester City's Aymeric Laporte lies on the pitch in pain during the English Premier League soccer match between Sheffield United and Manchester City at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP PhotoRui Vieira)

Aguero is going through a midseason revival, having scored a hat trick against Aston Villa before netting two late goals in a draw with Crystal Palace last weekend.

He now has 16 goals in the league this season, putting him one behind top scorer Jamie Vardy of Leicester.

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Manchester City's Aymeric Laporte, centre, scuffles with Sheffield United's John Egan, right, during the English Premier League soccer match between Sheffield United and Manchester City at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP PhotoRui Vieira)