Manchester City comfortably qualified for the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon as they beat Championship outfit Cardiff City 2-0.
Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring for Pep Guardiola’s troops with a clever, low free kick in the seventh minute. Bernardo Silva had a goal controversially ruled out for offside before Raheem Sterling extended the lead before the break. Joe Bennett was sent off in the final minute with his second yellow card of the game.
Quick-thinking De Bruyne snatches early lead
Neil Etheridge was the first to be called into action as he comfortably collected Bernardo Silva’s clever flick. He also had to be alert to strongly palm away İlkay Gündoğan’s powerful effort from just inside the penalty area as Guardiola’s men made a quick start in the Welsh capital.
The stopper could do nothing to stop City from notching an early opener however. With Gündoğan earning free-kick on the edge of the area, Kevin De Bruyne stepped up and cleverly rolled the ball underneath the jumping Cardiff City wall and into the net.
Bluebirds find their singing voice
The hosts nearly got back into the clash thanks to a mistake from City ‘keeper Claudio Bravo. The Chilean looked to be comfortably collecting Junior Hoilett’s long range effort but he fumbled the shot on the goal line. Despite the home crowd celebrating, the linesman adjudged that the ball had not trickled over the line. Callum Paterson was then only inches away from meeting a cross with a diving header as the hosts looked to get level.
Manchester City appeared to have doubled their advantage with 25 minutes on the clock as Bernardo Silva struck a fantastic shot high into the net following . The strike was ruled out for offside though as confusion appeared to reign at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Sterling sinks Cardiff just before the break
The Sky Blues did eventually have their second, and it was Raheem Sterling who scored as Silva crossed in from the left-hand side following good work from De Bruyne. Sterling was unmarked in the area and headed into the floor, with the ball looping up into the net as City headed into the break with a comfortable lead.
Joe Bennett was lucky to stay on the pitch in the closing stages in the first-half as Leroy Sané broke at speed. The defender challenged the youngster high but only received a yellow card.
Chances flow in the second half
Sterling looked set to notch another only seven minutes into the second-half as he ran clear through following a quick free kick. Cardiff defender Sean Morrison did well to recover and tackle the English winger.
Kenneth Zohore also managed to race clear only minutes later but could only blast his effort high over the bar. The Danish forward produced a low save from Bravo as he wriggled away from the Coty defence mid-way through the second half. Hoilett also went close again as he looked to curl home into the top corner from outside the area. The ball however just whistled over the bar.
There were appeals from the home side for a penalty as the ball appeared to strike the arm of Kyle Walker. The referee was uninterested however.
City secure progress to the fifth round
Sterling might have got a second in the last 15 minutes when one-on-one with Etheridge. The stopper got the better of the City winger again though.
The tie just began to coast until the conclusion as Pep Guardiola’s men all-but secured their progression to the fifth round of the FA Cup. Bennett received his marching orders late on for a mis-timed tackle on Brahim Díaz and was awarded his second yellow card of the game.
The gulf between the two sides was clear to see within the first-half. City strolled into a commanding lead as Cardiff struggled to get to grips with their slick and impressive attacking football. Whilst the hosts did improve in the second period, the sheer enormity of their challenge was just to great. As a result, they turn their attentions back to the Championship promotion race.
The Citizens meanwhile will look forward to the fifth round following a well-deserved victory at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Cardiff City: Etheridge (7); Richards (6), Morrison (6), Ecuele-Manga (7), Bennett (5), Ralls (5) (Damourat (N/A), 89′), Grujić (5), Paterson (6); Mendez-Laing (6) (Feeney (N/A), 78′), Hoilett (7); Zohore (6) (Plikington (6), 67′).
Manchester City: Bravo (6); Danilo (7), Kompany (7), Otamendi (6), Walker (7); Fernandinho (6), Gündoğan (7), De Bruyne (8); B. Silva (7) (Diaz (N/A), 89′), Sané (7) (Aguero (6), 45′), Sterling (8).
Goals: De Bruyne (7′), Sterling (37′)
Referee: Lee Mason
Yellow Cards: Bennett (45′, 90+2′), Ecuele-Maga (77′), Fernandinho (80′)
Red Cards: Bennett (90+2′)
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