Manchester City 4 Stoke City 0
REPUBLIC of Ireland veteran Shay Given is set to have tests this week to see if his dreams of playing at the European Championships are over.
Given limped off at half-time in Stoke City’s defeat at Manchester City on Saturday with a groin injury.
That was just 135 minutes into his comeback after being sidelined with the knee problem that he picked up last October against Germany.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes said: “Shay felt his groin about 20 minutes in. He felt he could get to half-time, but couldn’t continue after that.
“We will have to see how he is and take things from there.”
Sky Sports are reporting the groin injury sustained by Shay Given at the Etihad on Saturday is not as bad as originally feared. #SCFC— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) April 24, 2016
Given conceded two more goals while he was on the field — Fernando’s opener and a Sergio Aguero penalty — on top of the four he shipped against Spurs last Monday.
Kelechi Iheanacho added two more in the second-half and the Nigerian hopes his performance will earn him the chance to fulfil a dream and face Real Madrid. Iheanacho has impressed each time he has been given a chance by Manuel Pellegrini this season and the 19-year-old has become a fan favourite.
His Champions League career has so far been limited to two late substitute appearances against Dynamo Kiev and Paris St Germain, but Pellegrini did not rule out Iheanacho playing a part tomorrow in one of the biggest games in the club’s history.
Real Madrid visit the Etihad for the first leg of City’s first Champions League semi-final, offering Iheanacho the chance to challenge himself against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.
“I think I should dream about that because it’s a great team to dream about,” he said.
“It would be a dream come true to play against them. Ronaldo and Messi are the greatest players on the planet so I think playing against them is a big thing to anyone.
“It would be a big thing to me if I play against him.”
Iheanacho impressed with his all-round play against Stoke, not just scoring two goals but also winning the penalty that Aguero converted.
The teenager did not want to talk up his chances of playing tomorrow too much, saying: “It was a great performance for everybody, everybody really did well, so it depends on who the manager picks. Everyone is fit to face Madrid.
“(If I was picked) I would feel very great, I would feel very happy. I would grab the opportunity and really work hard.”
Barring injury concerns for Fernando and Yaya Toure, the Stoke victory was the ideal start to a huge week, with City moving closer to securing a top-four spot.
“It was a big match because we need to stay in the top four so United is behind us,” said Iheanacho. “We needed three points.
“This game is a great preparation for us against Real Madrid. On Tuesday, we need to focus and work hard because they’re a good side.
“I think we are prepared to face them.”
Joining Real, Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich in the last four has propelled City into the highest echelons of European football - and they are not ready to stop there.
Iheanacho said: “It’s a great achievement for the club and for everybody being in the last four of the tournament. We really need to go forward and get to the final.
“It would be a dream to get to the final so we’re really hoping for that.”
A positive season for Stoke has turned sour and Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan admitted his embarrassement after his side conceded four goals for the third successive game.
“We are going through a difficult stage,” said Whelan.
“We are feeling sorry for ourselves.This is not the Stoke City I am used to playing with and we owe more to our fans.
“We don’t want the season to fizzle out, we have three games to turn it around. Listen, we need to look at ourselves. It hasn’t been good enough. We are giving away soft goals.”
MAN CITY: Hart, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Mangala, Kolarov, Jesus Navas, Fernando (Demichelis 72), Toure, Silva (Delph 57), Iheanacho, Aguero (Bony 65)
Subs not used: Sterling, Caballero, De Bruyne, Clichy
STOKE CITY: Given (Haugaard 46), Bardsley, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Muniesa, Cameron, Whelan, Diouf, Imbula, Arnautovic (Adam 75), Joselu.
Subs not used: Teixeira, Crouch, Krkic, El Ouriachi, Shenton
Referee: Andre Marriner
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