Blues avenge league defeat with impressive performance
FA Cup Fifth Round
Saturday 15 February 2014, 17.15 KO
City: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Lescott, Clichy, Garcia, Toure, Milner, Silva (Navas 69), Jovetic (Nasri 61), Dzeko (Negredo 81)
Unused: Hart, Richards, Demichelis, Kolarov
Goals: Jovetic (16), Nasri (67)
Booked: Kompany, Jovetic, Toure, Garcia
Referee: Phil Dowd
Man of the Match: Javi Garcia
Following the defeat to Chelsea less than a fortnight ago, the Blues looked like a team on a missing to avoid their second home defeat in a month. Chelsea – lining up very strongly, despite City’s four changes from their last match. In the end, the visitors couldn’t get a kick of the ball in a meaningful area and the hosts cruised to victory.
Jovetic teased the home crowd with what was to come as he came close to opening the scoring on the quarter-hour mark. Toure kept his feet after a foul by Matic and, with the referee playing advantage, he smashed a shot towards Cech’s goal. The goalkeeper made a hash of dealing with it, fumbling it to the feet of the Montenegrin striker, whose first-time dink towards goal clipped the crossbar.
A minute later, though, the forward hit the frame of the goal again – but this time it also hit the back of the net. Silva and Dzeko linked up well down the left flank and it was good awareness from the Bosnian to slide the ball into the path of the on-rushing Jovetic. He passed it across the sprawling Cech and into the net via the base of the post.
On 24 minutes, the Blues came close to doubling their lead with the same combination – this time in reverse. Jovetic found Dzeko in space on the edge of the box and he belted a curling effort towards the top corner, with only a double-handed flying save from Cech preventing it from going in.
Clichy played a brilliant cross into the middle that had both Luiz and Cech flapping, but Dzeko was unable to take advantage to knock home, before Jovetic rolled an effort into the goalkeeper’s hands. City were all over their opponents, who were still yet to start the game.
On the stroke of half time, it was a mystery how City hadn’t doubled their lead. Milner broke down the right flank after Jovetic had been ploughed through by Luiz – who later received a booking for the foul – and drove a low cross towards the front post. Dzeko was inches from touching it into the net, but couldn’t quite connect.
After the break, the pattern of play didn’t change. With many wondering if Mourinho’s side would raise their game, it was the hosts who looked more likely to add the next goal of the contest. And, just six minutes after coming on after his return from injury, Nasri did exactly that. He slid Silva in on the left side, and, as the Spaniard drew Cech off his line, he fed it back to Nasri to tap into the empty net.
It looked like it was three for City with 15 minutes left on the clock. Garcia rose highest at a corner and nodded back across goal. It needed a great save from Cech to keep it out, but Lescott turned in the rebound – though the linesman had (correctly) spotted he was in an offside position.
City were able to see the game out comfortably, with Pantilimon easing the pressure in taking several crosses from their air and with the hosts’ forward players keeping possession well – so well that Matic’s swipe at Toure’s legs earned him a late yellow card.
The Blues put another dent in Chelsea’s remarkable FA Cup run – being the only side to have beaten them in the competition without a penalty shoot-out in their last 33 matches – and knock them out for the second season running.