Manuel Pellegrini’s hopes of winning the quadruple remain intact after Sergio Aguero inspired Manchester City to a 3-0 FA Cup third-round victory over fellow Premier League outfit Norwich City on Saturday.
Pellegrini’s decision to rest the likes of Yaya Toure, David Silva and Joe Hart was justified as the visitors cruised into round four, Aguero getting more valuable game-time after his recent heel injury.
The 27-year-old opened the scoring after 16 minutes at Carrow Road with a stunning strike, before setting up Kelechi Iheanacho for a second before half-time.
Norwich enjoyed more possession after the break but were punished as Kevin De Bruyne added a third with 12 minutes to play.
Victory sees Manchester City into the draw for the next round as they look to lift the trophy for the first time since 2011, while Norwich focus their attentions on Premier League survival.
Cameron Jerome and Jonny Howson both caused the visitors concern early on as the hosts started well, but neither were able to worry Caballero in the Manchester City goal.
Slowly Pellegrini’s side began to assert themselves with Iheanacho and Aleksandar Kolarov threatening Norwich’s goal, the pair both denied by John Ruddy inside the opening 10 minutes.
Eventually the Premier League title contenders found a way through as a cute back heel from Raheem Sterling found Aguero, who beat four men with a surging run before stabbing a finish beyond Ruddy.
Having netted his 11th goal in all competitions this season, Aguero turned creator on the half-hour mark as he found strike partner Iheanacho with a low cross, the youngster coolly slotting home Manchester City’s second.
Norwich enjoyed a good spell of possession as half-time approached, but Alex Neil’s side lacked quality in the final third as the visitors took a two-goal advantage into the break.
Pressure continued to build on the Manchester City defence after the restart with Howson and Vadis Odjidja heavily involved. Both created openings for Jerome but the flag denied him the chance to pull one back.
Aguero’s match-winning display came to an end with 20 minutes to play, the striker withdrawn by Pellegrini to avoid further injury.
Three minutes later Jesus Navas went close to adding gloss to the victory with a strike that beat Ruddy, but the Spaniard was denied successive goals by the woodwork.
They did not have to wait long for the third though, as De Bruyne fired beyond Ruddy with a powerful effort to secure Manchester City’s progression.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!