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Pellegrini rewards Iheanacho with Champions League

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Nifemi Daniel

Super Eagles striker, Kelechi Iheanacho, has been rewarded with an opportunity to feature for Manchester City in the knock out stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Man City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, on Monday, revealed that Iheanacho, 19, who scored a hat trick in Saturday’s 4-0 FA Cup win at Aston Villa, will replace the injured Samir Nasri.

The Nigerian was not included in the 25-man squad for the group stages because City had already filled their quota of 17 foreign players.

Nasri, who underwent a major surgery to repair a thigh muscle and tendon in November, has expressed hope of being back in training in March, but Pellegrini believes it will still be some time before he is ready to play.

The deadline for changes to be made to the squad is Tuesday, with City playing Dynamo Kiev in their round-of-16 first-leg clash on Feb. 22.

Pellegrini said: “I have decided and I have told Samir Nasri I will take him out of the Champions League list because he needs at least two months more to be fit.

“We need Kelechi now because [Wilfried] Bony is also injured and we cannot take the risk that something happens with Kun [Sergio Aguero], and we don’t have a striker for the round of 16. So, Kelechi will be in the Champions League.”

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