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Leagues: Champions League

Hart, Toure handed Man City starts


Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Goalkeeper Joe Hart and midfielder Yaya Toure both make their first competitive appearances of the season in Manchester City’s Champions League play-off round, second leg against Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday.

Both players have fallen out of favour since Pep Guardiola’s appointment as manager during the close season and have been tipped to leave the club.

City are 5-0 up in the tie and all but qualified for the group phase.

Guardiola has benched 29-year-old England international Hart, citing concerns about his passing ability, and selected Argentine Willy Caballero for City’s first three games of the season.

Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is reportedly close to completing a 17 million pounds ($22.5 million, 20 million euros) transfer to City, which would leave Hart as third-choice goalkeeper.

Hart, who was handed the captain’s armband for the game, has been linked with loan moves to Everton and Sevilla.

Ivory Coast midfielder Toure, 33, previously fell out of favour with Guardiola during their time at Barcelona.

Both players became stalwarts of the City team assembled following the club’s takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008.

They have contributed to two Premier League titles, two League Cup wins and the club’s 2011 FA Cup success.

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