How City's fringe players fared

(From left) Pablo Maffeo, Fabian Delph, Yaya Toure and Yaya Toure.
(From left) Pablo Maffeo, Fabian Delph, Yaya Toure and Yaya Toure.PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS


Manchester City's Pablo Maffeo (left) holds off Steaua Bucharest's Jugurtha Hamroun to keep possession during their UEFA Champions League second leg play-off football match. PHOTO: AFP

The 19-year-old right-back kept the ball well, stroking precise passes along the back four and down the right flank to Jesus Navas.

He also moved into a holding midfield role when City were in possession.

The former Espanyol academy player showed a combative side in aerial battles but lost concentration towards the end of the first half, letting two simple passes run under his foot. Still, he impressed overall.


Manchester City's Fabian Delph celebrates scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League second leg play-off football match between Manchester City and Steaua Bucharest. PHOTO: AFP

Struggled to get into the game until he popped up with City's opening goal in the 56th minute.

Delph arched his back to nod in Navas' cross as though he were a predatory striker.

During the first half he looked uneasy about being played in such an advanced position.

The England midfielder began the match next to Fernando, but, when City had possession, he drove forward to sit alongside Yaya Toure.

As the evening progressed, Delph improved in confidence, however.


Manchester City's Yaya Toure in action against Steaua Bucharest's Ovidiu Popescu. PHOTO: REUTERS

He is still popular among City fans, but it was clear that the 33-year-old no longer has the engine to put in the kind of dynamic attacking performance Guardiola demands from his midfielders.

Toure, to his credit, stuck in with his defensive duties, but just could not get down the other end of the pitch thereafter to aid Kelechi Iheanacho, the lone striker. His passing was awry at times.


Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho pulls up with a injury against Steaua Bucharest. PHOTO: REUTERS

Guardiola deserves credit for giving Iheanacho a start, but there was little in this performance to suggest that the Nigerian will be muscling Sergio Aguero out of the first team any time soon.

The teenager could only manage to muster a weak shot, which went straight at the goalkeeper, when he was presented with an opportunity in the eighth minute and he did little to test the Romanian side's defence thereafter. He was not helped by the fact that Toure was too slow to support him.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2016, with the headline 'How City's fringe players fared'. Subscribe