Kelechi’s hat-trick seals the victory
KELECHI Iheanacho was the star of the show as Manchester City cruised into round five of the FA Cup, and boss Manuel Pellegrini believes the teenager’s hat-trick vindicates his decision to let more experienced strikers leave the club.
Iheanacho’s treble put City 3-0 ahead before Raheem Sterling rounded off the scoring as Aston Villa showed why they are bottom of the Premier League.
Eyebrows were raised when both Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko were allowed to exit last summer, but the emergence of 19-year-old Iheanacho, who also scored in the third-round win over Norwich, has manager Pellegrini content with the call.
“I'm very happy, Kelechi is a very good young player,” said Pellegrini.
“We let Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko go because I see Kelechi every day and know what he can do.
“Bacary Sagna played well at centre-back, he didn’t make any mistakes, and Willy Caballero was solid in goal.”
City were ahead within four minutes at Villa Park as the hosts failed to clear a corner and Iheanacho swept in from close-range.
The Nigerian then made it 2-0 from the penalty spot after Sterling had been felled by Leandro Bacuna in the box and completed a welldeserved hat-trick 14 minutes from time as he raced clear and slotted home.
Sterling poked in a fourth soon after to compound Villa’s misery as the Premier League’s lowest scorers once again failed to find the net.
Idrissa Gana did force Caballero into one stop while Carles Gil’s free-kick also tested him but in truth they showed little to suggest that their fight against relegation to the Championship is one they will win.
And manager Remi Garde found it tough to take positives from the display as he acknowledged that a slow start cost his side dearly.
“When you start the game so poorly, it is difficult,” he explained.
“After the first two goals, they played quietly and we did not have much danger to cope with.
“The penalty was a bit harsh but it is done. I don’t want to blame the team too much and we have important games coming up.”