Manchester City made light work of Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, easing past Aitor Karanka’s side 2-0 to book their spot in the semi-finals of the competition.
The visitors may have a midweek trip to Monaco on their minds but Pep Guardiola nonetheless picked a strong line-up with Raheem Sterling, John Stones and David Silva all returning in a line-up that also featured Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero.
City stun hosts with fast start
Karanka had risked the wrath of Pep Guardiola before the game insisting that the Spaniard is not the best coach in the world (apparently it’s Jose Mourinho in case you’re interested) and City started as if desperate to prove the Boro boss wrong.
There were less than three minutes on the clock when the visitors struck through David Silva. Yaya Toure chipped a pass out to Pablo Zabaleta racing down the right. His cross was aimed at Raheem Sterling, who made a mess of it but Silva made no mistake smashing past Brad Guzan.
It was City’s quickest goal of the season and with Guardiola’s side already being the FA Cup’s top scorers this season, things looked ominous for Boro, particularly after Rudy Gestede hobbled off midway through the first half, former City man Alvaro Negredo his replacement.
But the visitors allowed Boro to come back into it, Cristhian Stuani’s fierce header saved by Bravo after Zabaleta had slipped their best effort of the first half as they started to worry City at the back who still look defensively suspect at times.
The second half began in much the same way with Silva almost scoring an identical goal to his opener but this one flew over the bar before Guzan managed to deflect an Aguero shot onto the post when City looked almost certain to double their lead.
Aguero finishes off Boro
The chances contined to come, however, until the 67th minute when Aguero made the game safe. Leroy Sane was the creator, racing down the left before crossing for the striker who was on hand to fire home.
There was still time for more chances, John Stones was denied a penalty by referee Mike Dean after he was tripped by Gibson before Stones then had to clear off his own line after Fabio looked set to pull one back.
In truth it was a comfortable afternoon for Guardiola’s men who sail serenely into the last four of the competition and can now turn their attentions to the Champions League, and Monaco on Wednesday.
Middlesbrough: Guzan 8, Barragan 5, Bernardo 5 (Fry 6), Gibson 8, Fabio 6, Clayton 6, Leadbitter 5 (Ramirez 6), De Roon 6, Stuani 6, Traore 6, Gestede 6 (Negredo 5).
Unused subs: Valdes, Husband, Forshaw, Fischer
Manchester City: Bravo 5, Zabaleta 7, Otamendi 6, Jones 7, Clichy 6, Sane 8 (Nolito 6), Toure 7 (Fernando 6), De Bruyne 7, Silva 8, Sterling 7, Aguero 7 (Iheanacho 5).
Unused subs: Caballero, Kolarov, Delph, Fernandinho
Referee: Mike Dean
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