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Published: 14:03 | 23/4/16

Man City third after beating Stoke

Sky Blues move above Arsenal and clear of United

Manchester City climbed to third place in the Premier League with a 4-0 victory over Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium.

Fernando’s near-post header and a penalty kick from Sergio Aguero provided the hosts with a two-goal lead at the interval.

Stoke went close on several occasions prior to a neat finish from Kelechi Iheanacho that effectively wrapped up the home side’s triumph.

Iheanacho later rounded Jakob Haugaard, who had replaced Stoke goalkeeper Shay Given at the break, to tap in City’s fourth.

Both Given and Marko Arnautovic succumbed to groin injuries during the contest.

The clash ended in a somewhat worrying fashion for the hosts, ahead of the Champions League showdown with Real Madrid, as Yaya Toure picked up a thigh problem.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men move above Arsenal with the win and five points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United, although the Gunners will regain third should they win at Sunderland on Sunday.

Stoke had first-half efforts at the Etihad from Glenn Whelan, Ryan Shawcross and Gianelli Imbula, before Joselu headed over an awkward but decent chance from Marko Arnautovic’s chipped cross.

City had regularly threatened, though, and took the lead when Jesus Navas’s 35th-minute corner was met with a glancing contact by Fernando, offering Given no chance of saving.

A foul by Ryan Shawcross on Iheanacho, following a one-two between the Nigerian and Yaya Toure, allowed Aguero to calmly sweep City further ahead from the spot.

Joselu ought to have reduced Stoke’s deficit early in the second half, firing off target from Arnautovic’s near-perfect low cross from the left wing, before Mame Biram Diouf headed Glenn Whelan’s corner narrowly wide.

With the visitors continuing to press, Joe Hart saved well from Arnautovic but Stoke fell further behind with a little over 25 minutes remaining, as Pablo Zabaleta burst onto a Navas pass and pulled the ball back for Iheanacho to roll in a finish.

The semi-final clash with Madrid being on the horizon, Pellegrini replaced Aguero with Wilfried Bony.

The substitute made a significant impact, his pass burst onto by Iheanacho, who waltzed around the advancing Haugaard and netted with ease.

The victory provides City with a significant boost in the race to finish in the Champions League spots. The Citizens, though, still have the chance to qualify for next season’s top European competition by virtue of winning this campaign’s tournament.

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