Saturday, April 23, 2016 6:08 pm
Nigeria’s starlet Kelechi Iheanacho scored twice today as Manchester City eased past Stoke City to regain the third position in the Barclays Premier League table.
Manchester City moved into a 2-0 half-time lead thanks to a 35th-minute Fernando header and a Sergio Aguero penalty, awarded after a Ryan Shawcross foul on Iheanacho.
Stoke rallied after the break to threaten to reduce the deficit, but Iheanacho made it 3-0 when he buried a cutback from Pablo Zabaleta, who was making his 300th City appearance, and added further gloss to the scoreline with a fourth.
The result moves City above Arsenal, ahead of the Gunners’ match with Sunderland on Sunday, while Manchester United, not in league action this weekend, are five points back in fifth.
In a quiet start, it was the hosts who posed the early threat through Iheanacho. Aguero wriggled out of a tight spot on the right wing before feeding the Nigerian, who directed his low strike just wide of the left-hand upright.
Iheanacho was unable to bring the ball under control when played in by David Silva in the 12th minute, before Glenn Whelan almost caught Joe Hart off guard with an ambitious free-kick from distance, the goalkeeper pushing over his crossbar for a corner.
City’s joy at the result was tempered by an injury picked up by Toure in the closing stages. The midfielder soldiered on to the final whistle, but there could be concerns over his fitness ahead of Tuesday’s match.
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini: “It was the perfect match. It was important to have our mind focused on this game and not Tuesday. It was exactly the same against PSG – we had played well against Bournemouth. It’s a good way to prepare for the Champions League.
“Big teams must be able to have their minds in all competitions and have good performances in them.”
Stoke manager Mark Hughes: “Once again we have conceded poor goals which is a recurring theme. There are certain fundamentals you need to get right and we have switched off from a corner. The first goal is so important in the Premier League.”
In other results of the day, Chelsea beat AFC Bournemouth 4-1 and whipping boys Aston Villa lost 2-4 to Southampton. And in Anfield, Newcastle snatched a point off Liverpool, as they continued a revival to escape relegation.
They now have 30 p0ints, tied with Sunderland who host Arsenal on Sunday.
*Culled from www.premierleague.com