London, Aug 10: Raheem Sterling's hat-trick inspired a 5-0 rout of West Ham as Manchester City commenced their quest for a third straight Premier League title in style in a contest where VAR played a prominent role.
The England star struck a sublime second-half treble after Gabriel Jesus prodded the champions ahead in the 25th minute of a one-sided affair at the London Stadium.
Sterling's well-worked first goal came six minutes after the interval and though a VAR review found he was offside before Jesus tapped in, he did find the net again 15 minutes from time to put City beyond the Hammers' reach.
He could have added the third from the spot after Issa Diop fouled Riyad Mahrez but gifted the spot-kick to Sergio Aguero, which the substitute converted on a re-take, awarded following another VAR intervention.
Sterling was not to be denied the match ball, though, as he raced clean through in added time to compound an embarrassing eighth straight defeat for West Ham in competitive meetings with Pep Guardiola's men.