Man City trounce Stoke
Manchester City moved up to third in the Premier League with a routine win over Stoke ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid.
Fernando headed the hosts in front from a corner before a Sergio Aguero penalty – awarded for Ryan Shawcross’ foul on Kelechi Iheanacho – doubled the lead.
Iheanacho, 19, added the third from close range, then the teenager rounded the keeper to seal an emphatic win.
Stoke conceded four goals for the third straight Premier League game.
Manuel Pellegrini rested a number of players, including captain Vincent Kompany and midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, with the first-leg visit of 10-time champions of Europe Real Madrid in mind.
Yet his side go into one of the biggest games in the club’s history with confidence high after moving above Arsenal, who play at Sunderland on Sunday, in the table.
Manchester City’s place at the top of table of European football next season is by no means certain but, a slow start notwithstanding, they showed their ruthless side to dispose of a Stoke team that missed several good chances.
Such was their dominance, Pellegrini could afford the luxury of bringing off influential players David Silva and Sergio Aguero to rest legs for the heavyweight meeting with Real, who lost striker Karim Benzema to injury in their match at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.
The biggest roar of the game came five minutes from time, when Iheanacho was announced as man of the match.
Just as neighbours United have an exciting young forward in Marcus Rashford, so do Manchester City in the shape of the young Nigeria international, who has had a hand in 11 goals (seven goals, four assists) in eight competitive starts in 2015/16.
After Fernando had got the better of Geoff Cameron to glance home the opening goal from a corner, Iheanacho won the penalty that Aguero promptly dispatched before scoring twice himself in the space of 10 second-half minutes.