Nigerian forward Kelechi Iheanacho was stretched off on Wednesday night as Manchester City completed a double over Steaua Bucuresti to secure their place in the group stages of the Champions League.
Coach Pep Guardiola offered Iheanacho his first competitive start under his reign in Wednesday’s clash at the Etihad but what could have been a memorable night for the Nigerian turned sour with feared calf injury.
Iheanacho pulled up while chasing a pass in the 74th minute and had to be replaced by Fernandinho.With Iheanacho firing blanks despite leading the City attack, the Citizens relied on a second-half header from Fabian Delph to seal their place in the group phase with a 6-0 aggregate score line over the Romanian side.
In a lacklustre game devoid in chances, Delph’s goal proved the difference on a night where the City supporters bid farewell to Joe Hart, who is likely to leave the club before the end of the transfer window.
Having recorded a 5-0 victory in Romania last week, City were only required to go through with no hassles but boss Pep Guardiola would have been unhappy with their performance during the opening 45 minutes.
It was much of the same after the restart before Delph hit the ball straight at Cojocaru after being set up by Iheanacho, but the midfielder did not have to wait long to put his side ahead on the night.
After Iheanacho had teed up Navas on the right flank, the Spaniard whipped in a fine cross for Delph to direct a glancing header into the bottom corner from six yards.
The goal resulted in Guardiola giving Tosin Adarabioyo and Angelino over half an hour to make an impression but it was Bucuresti who came closest to a goal during the following 20 minutes as they finally posed a threat going forward.