Manchester City advanced to the FA Cup quarter-final after a dominant 3-0 win at Ashton Gate over Bristol City, with Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne on the scoresheet for the Blues, and the former continuing his return to form.
Stefan Ortega came back into the eleven with a back four of Rico Lewis, Manuel Akanj, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake. A rare start for Kalvin Phillips after struggling with injuries for the majority of the season; he was joined by De Bruyne, who is back from illness, and Bernardo Silva, with Foden Julian Alvarez and Riyad Mahrez forming the front three.
In the opening minute, Phillips rattled the crossbar as his shot from 25 yards set the tone for a dominant City side.
It only took six minutes for Guardiola’s side to break the deadlock. A fantastic switch of play to Mahrez on the right wing and a cross along the six-yard box from the Algerian found Foden, who emphatically found the back of the net.
Bristol City were not allowing the Premier League champions to dictate the game, with Alex Scott and Sam Bell creating a handful of chances in the opening 20 minutes.
Often, De Bruyne found himself leading a City counterattack and had multiple chances to catch Alvarez running through on goal, but Bristol City were able to cut those chances out.
A good run from the Robins’ Sam Bell in the 35th minute was blazed over the bar, but the home side showed a lot of confidence as they created a few chances in the final 15 minutes of the first half.
The visitors had a great goal-scoring opportunity in the 41st minute with Foden finding De Bruyne with a through ball, but the Belgian hit it over the bar, a chance that the world-class midfielder should have been able to convert if he was found on his preferred right foot.
In the final minute of the first half, Dias found himself in the opposition box, taking an excellent touch and striking the ball well, but his effort was blocked by a Bristol City defender to deny the hosts going 2-0 down.
As the second half began, Ederson was brought on for Ortega as the German goalkeeper picked up a slight injury on his hand just before halftime. Ederson got straight into the action as he clashed with Bell, and both players ended up on the ground.
City started the second half dangerously as Foden failed to find Alvarez after he was found by Ake running down the right wing. Only seconds later, Lewis sent in a delivery across the face of goal but failed to find a City shirt.
Mahrez used great skill in the 58th minute around the edge of the box to pick up a free kick for his side, but De Bruyne’s subsequent strike hit the wall. City still sat with possession after the free kick but failed to create a chance and allowed Bristol City to counter, but a shot by second-half substitute Andreas Weimann hit the back of Dias.
Bristol City picked up the pace and brought the game to the Blues as the home side were eager to get an equaliser, but the defence of the Premier League side showed their ability and were able to deflate every chance the home side brought them.
Bristol City had their best chance to get back into the game in the 70th minute after a cross from Weimann found the head of Bell, but the young attacker failed to connect well, and it went out for a goal kick.
Jack Grealish came on in the 71st minute to replace Mahrez, which saw Foden swap to the right wing.
Foden secured a brace in the 74th minute after a great piece of play. A ball from De Bruyne found Ake on the left wing, and the Dutchman’s cutback found Alvarez, who wanted to shoot but had Foden in acres of space on the right side. Foden received the ball with the perfect goal-scoring opportunity and found the back of the net after a slight deflection.
City added a third to the tally as captain on the night De Bruyne shot from 25 yards to find the far corner after he drove at the Bristol City defence and gave their goalkeeper no chance with a curling shot.
In the 82nd minute, Cole Palmer and Sergio Gomez replaced Foden and Ake.
Winter signing Maximo Perrone got his second cameo of the week after the young midfielder came on in the final minutes of the game to replace Bernardo Silva.
City will be ball six in the FA Cup quarter-final draw, scheduled to take place after the conclusion of Sheffield United vs Tottenham on Wednesday, March 1st, with the ties to be played on the weekend of the 18th and 19th of March – kick-off time and date to be confirmed shortly. The Premier League clash with West Ham currently scheduled for Sunday, March 19, will now be rearranged following tonight’s progression.
Man of the Match
Phil Foden, without a doubt, was the Man of the Match as the winger converted both of his chances to get a brace, created four chances and completed two successful dribbles as he continues his return to form following discomfort in feet and time-out of the starting eleven.
Ortega - 6
Lewis - 7
Akanji - 8
Ake - 8
Phillips - 7
De Bruyne - 8
Foden - 9
Mahrez - 7
Alvarez - 7
Substitutions: Ederson - 6, Grealish - 7, Gomez - 6, Palmer - 6, Perrone - N/A
Written by: @CharlieTate02
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