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Manchester City starts Premier League title defense with 2-0 win at Newcastle

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NEWCASTLE, England — Manchester City began its Premier League title defense with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle on Sunday, with goals by David Silva and Sergio Aguero putting the champions on top of the fledgling standings.

With a professional, assured start to the season, City showed at St. James' Park why it will be tough to stop the team winning a third title in four years.

Silva opened the scoring in the 38th minute with a left-foot shot inside the area past Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul, having run on to a clever backheeled pass by Edin Dzeko.

Aguero began on the bench as he is short of full fitness after the World Cup but the Argentina striker quickly hit his scoring stride, slotting home a finish in injury time after his first attempt was saved by Tim Krul.

"It was very important for us to start with a win," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. "We talked to the squad about the two 'H's — hungry and humble. We need both if want to continue winning titles and improve on what we did last season. We didn't have any clean sheets in preseason but we were very solid in this game."

PHOTO: Manchester City's Steven Jovetic, right, vies for the ball with Newcastle United's captain Fabricio Coloccini, left, during their English Premier League soccer match at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Manchester City's Steven Jovetic, right, vies for the ball with Newcastle United's captain Fabricio Coloccini, left, during their English Premier League soccer match at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

City's win remained in doubt until Aguero struck, with Newcastle applying pressure late on but failing to work visiting goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Substitute Ayoze Perez had a shot deflected just wide of the far post before Moussa Sissoko blazed over the bar.

"I feel a little bit disappointed we have lost and the scoreline is slightly flattering to them," Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said. "I felt if we had got an equalizer we could have gone on to win, because we looked fitter and stronger.

"Our fans are good judges and I think they've seen enough to believe we're going to give it a real good go this season."

Fabricio Coloccini and Vincent Kompany, the captains of the two teams, and former Sunderland goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery laid wreaths on the center circle before kickoff in honor of two Newcastle fans who were among the 298 people to be killed when Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine last month.

There was also a minute's silence for the two supporters, John Alder and Liam Sweeney.

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PHOTO: Newcastle United's Remy Cabella, left, vies for the ball with Manchester City's Aleksandar Kolarov, front, and Yaya Toure, back, during their English Premier League soccer match at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
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