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Manchester City hit with major injury blow as first-team star substituted at half-time in European Championship qualifier



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Manchester City staff have been left sweating on the fitness of Nathan Ake after the versatile defender was replaced at half-time of the Netherland’s 3-0 win over Greece.

The two nations played out the contest with second place in European Championship Qualification Group B firmly the target, as France remain the current runaway leaders on 15 points having played two games more than the Netherlands upon full-time on Thursday.

It was a three-goal first-half haul that put the contest beyond any doubt, as the Netherlands struck all of the goals on the evening in a 22-minute period, with Marten de Roon grabbing the opener.

The midfielder’s opening effort was then followed up by a goal from Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo, before former Manchester United cult hero Wout Weghorst put the final nail in the coffin of Greece on the night.

However, the half-time interval brought a major injury concern for Manchester City’s Nathan Ake, who had been operating on the left of a back-three for the Netherlands, accompanied by Virgil van Dijk and Lutsharel Geertruida at centre-back.

According to the information of Dutch broadcaster NOS, Nathan Aké did not reappear for the second-half of the contest as planned due to an injury. The report speculated at the time that the problem was ‘likely’ to have been his hamstring.

Elsewhere, and De Telegraaf say the Manchester City man ‘suffered some minor complaints’, which ultimately lead to his withdrawal as a precautionary measure. Manager Ronald Koeman corroborated that notion as he stated after the game, “We didn’t want to take any risks with him.”

No further details have since emerged, however should Ake have sustained a muscular problem in the first-half, then it is expected that he would return to Manchester City immediately for further assessment from club medical staff.

City return to action following the conclusion of the international break with a trip to the London Stadium, where they take on West Ham United in their latest Premier League contest with the maintaining of their 100 per cent winning start to the season in mind.

September also brings the return of the UEFA Champions League, as the holders City host Red Star Belgrade at the Etihad Stadium in the opening contest of the group stage, while a third round Carabao Cup meeting with Newcastle United also awaits at St James’ Park.