Kelechi Iheanacho scored twice as Manchester City prepared for its Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid with a 4-0 Premier League victory over Stoke City on Saturday.
The Nigerian international ended his goal drought in style as he has not scored in the top-flight since Valentine’s Day (February 14) prior to yesterday’s match against the Potters.
With City’s top-four status not yet secured, manager Manuel Pellegrini faces a difficult balancing act as he tries to juggle domestic and continental priorities.
While he opted not to make wholesale changes to his starting line-up for Stoke’s visit, the Chilean rested Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne with one eye on Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League first leg against Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium.
City did not miss the Belgian duo as it took a 2-0 half-time lead thanks to a 35th-minute Fernando header and a Sergio Aguero penalty, following a Ryan Shawcross challenge on Iheanacho.
Stoke rallied after the break and threatened to reduce the deficit, but Iheanacho put the match to bed when he buried a cutback from Pablo Zabaleta on 64th minute, and added further gloss to the scoreline with a fourth 10 minutes later.
The result moves City third ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Sunderland on Sunday, while local rivals Manchester United – not in league action this weekend – is now five points back in fifth.
Meanwhile, Chelsea climbed to ninth in the league table thanks to 4-1 rout of AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium. Super Eagles skipper, Obi Mikel, played the 90 minutes.
Liverpool let a two-goal lead slip in a 2-2 draw with Newcastle United at Anfield. Jordon Ibe and Sheyi Ojo were among the substitutes for The Reds, and the England U-19 international came off the bench in the 83rd minute.
Gabby Agbonlahor is still in Aston Villa’s bad books and was not in action for the relegated team which lost 4-2 to Southampton at Villa Park.