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Published: 20:28 | 24/8/16

Delph nets as Man City beat Steaua


Manchester City booked their place in Thursday's Champions League draw with a 1-0 win over Steaua Bucharest at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's side had done all the hard work in Romania last week, winning 5-0, and this play-off second leg in Manchester had more the air of a post-season testimonial than a winner-takes-all shoot-out.

The City boss gave some of his fringe players a run-out, with Fabian Delph, Nolito, Kelechi Iheanacho and 19-year-old Spanish right-back Pablo Maffeo all handed starts.

And in goal was Joe Hart, the England goalkeeper that Guardiola has sidelined this season, with this week's signing of Barcelona's Claudio Bravo set to drop the 29-year-old to third in the pecking order behind Willy Caballero.

Guardiola believes Hart is not good enough in possession to start the quick counter-attacks from the back that marked out his playing style at Barca and Bayern Munich.

But, as the Opta statisticians cheekily pointed out, Hart made nine passes in the opening half, and completed them all.

He certainly retains the support of the home fans - Hart has been at the club for ten years and is seen as a symbol of the new Manchester City, the one that wins trophies - and they showed it with a heartfelt, albeit tuneless, rendition of "Don't Sell Joe Hart" to the tune of Billy-Ray Cyrus' 'Achy-Breaky Heart'.

And on 66 minutes, they again chanted Hart's name, this time loud and long, prompting the 63-times capped goalkeeper to pat his heart towards the stands in thanks.

By this stage, City were 1-0 up on the night, and 6-0 up on aggregate, after Delph had headed a Jesus Navas cross past Steaua goalkeeper Tuvia Cojocaru,

Guardiola used the goal as an opportunity to blood some youngsters, with England U-19 star Tosin Adarabioyo and 19-year-old Spanish right-back Jose Tasende, better known as Angelino, coming on for the final half hour.

But it wasn't such a good night for another City youngster, Iheanacho, who was stretchered off with a calf strain with 15 minutes remaining and may now be a doubt for the Premier League match with West Ham at the Etihad on Sunday.

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