Successful Given surgery good news for Trapattoni
Manchester City 3
Aris Salonika 0
(City win 3-0 on agg)
Shay Given was recovering from surgery in London last night as Manchester City booked their place in the last 16 of the Europa League at Eastlands.
As City were seeing off their Greek opponents, it emerged that Given's operation was to repair damage to his right shoulder, not the left one which he injured last season. That raised hopes that the 34-year-old might be back quicker than anticipated.
A three-month spell on the sidelines had originally been forecast and that would have ruled him out of Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifier with Macedonia later this month and made him a doubt for the crunch return tie in Skopje in June.
"Shay had his operation and the surgeon said he felt things went very well," said a club spokesman. "He is very fit and strong, so we're hopeful his recovery will be a quick one."
Edin Dzeko scored twice in the opening 12 minutes as City booked a last-16 clash with Dynamo Kiev.
After unleashing his own battery of strikers on limited Greek outfit Aris, Blues boss Roberto Mancini now faces a great of the past in Andriy Shevchenko.
It will not be easy judging by the way Dynamo so comfortably crushed Besiktas, but with his side beginning another winning run, Mancini will be hopeful of further progress, even if an FA Cup draw with Aston Villa next Wednesday would force the Blues to play twice in three days ahead of the first leg in the Ukraine on March 10.
Certainly, Dzeko can approach the tie in confident mood after claiming his first brace since a £27m arrival from Wolfsburg last month.
In fact, the Bosnian should have been heading home with the match ball after failing to take a glorious opportunity provided by David Silva. A third did eventually come, though for Yaya Toure, whose 25-yard effort took a fairly sizeable deflection.
Given he scored in the final minute against Notts County on Sunday, Dzeko might argue he completed a 13-minute hat-trick. And to think, leading up to the weekend FA Cup win, the Bosnian's form had been scrutinised after registering a single goal since his big-money arrival last month.
Such judgements were incredibly harsh given the difficulty most players experience when they move during the January transfer window, and so Dzeko has proved.
- Maurice Edu's stoppage-time goal earned Rangers a 2-2 away draw with Sporting Lisbon to send the Glasgow side into the last 16 of the Europa League, 3-3 on aggregate.