Kelechi Iheanacho scored a brace as Manchester City moved to third place with a routine 4-0 victory over struggling Stoke City.
With a Champions League semi-final clash against Real Madrid to come on Tuesday,Manuel Pellegrini opted to give the Nigerian international his first start in almost two months. And the 19-year-old did his future chances no harm as he put in a man of the match performance, scoring two second-half goals.
Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany were notable absences as Pellegrini rang the chances but Sergio Aguero led the attack from the start and he marked his appearance with a goal from the penalty spot on 43 minutes, shortly after Fernando had broke the deadlock. The Argentine striker has now scored seven goals in his last five matches.
Kelechi Iheanacho celebrates scoring the third goal for Manchester City – Reuters
Stoke City, meanwhile, remain ninth but could drop a place if Chelsea win at Bournemouth in a 3pm kick-off. They suffered a further blow asIreland international Shay Given was replaced at half-time by third-choice goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard after he picked up a groin injury.
Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to start Sergio Aguero was justified. With just three days until Manchester City take on Real Madrid in an epic Champions League semi-final encounter, eyebrows were raised when the Argentine’s name was included in the starting line-up for the match with Stoke. But he produced an outstanding display, helping his side to a two-goal first-half lead before being replaced just after the hour mark. Aguero always wants to play and he’ll be more than ready on Tuesday night.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City) – Stoke failed to cope with his movement and ability throughout the contest. The youngster simply has to feature more frequently and should play a part in his side’s Champions League adventures with Real Madrid.