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Manchester City’s Road To The FA Cup Final

Leigh Copson 9 May 2019
Raheem Sterling (credit:Martin Rickett/PA Wire/PA Images)

Manchester City are just 90 minutes away from winning back-to-back FA Cups, and ahead of the Wembley Stadium showdown with Watford we have been taking a look back at how Pep Guardiola’s side made it all the way to the final. It has not been all plain-sailing…

City could not have asked for a much better third-round tie than a home match against a team from a lower division. Little was expected of Rotherham United when they arrived at the Etihad Stadium and even less was expected when Raheem Sterling broke the deadlock on 12 minutes. The Millers did not wilt in the wake of that early strike and did their best to stay in the tie, but once Phil Foden struck two minutes before half-time it was game over. An own goal made it 3-0 in added time at the end of the first half and City then poured salt on the wound after the break as they rattled in four more to score seven times in an FA Cup tie for over 50 years.

Fourth Round – Manchester City 5 Burnley 0

An all-Premier League tie with Burnley was City’s reward for the demolition of Rotherham and once again the Manchester club made a strong start as Gabriel Jesus put them ahead with 23 minutes on the clock. The visiting Clarets managed to make it to the interval without conceding a second and they should have levelled it up just after the restart, only for Matej Vydra to waste a glorious chance. Of course, they were soon punished. Bernardo Silva doubled City’s lead before Kevin De Bruyne made it 3-0 just after the hour mark, and from there it was simply a case of how many would the home team score. An own goal gifted them the fourth before Sergio Aguero wrapped up a 5-0 win by converting a penalty five minutes from time.

Fifth Round – Newport County 1 Manchester City 4

The fifth round provided City with their first away tie of this season’s competition and they were handed the task of taking on Middlesbrough and Leicester City’s conquerors, Newport County. Pep Guardiola’s side were expected to run riot, but the League Two outfit had other ideas and managed to do what no other side had done so far, prevent the Premier League giants from scoring before the interval. Their stubborn resistance was finally broken though when Leroy Sane scored six minutes into the second half, and three goals inside the final 15 minutes spared City’s blushes by making the scoreline more convincing. Newport did manage one other feat too – they became the first team to score against Manchester City in the cup this season when Padraig Amond struck two minutes from time.

Quarter-Finals – Swansea City 2 Manchester City 3

Manchester City headed back to Wales for the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and Championship side Swansea City gave them an almighty scare. The Premier League side were stunned when Mat Grimes converted a penalty and Bersant Celina scored a spectacular goal to give the Swans a 2-0 lead inside the half-an-hour mark, and it was not until the 69th minute that the visitors managed a reply through Bernardo Silva. It did prove to be the start of a comeback though – albeit a bizarre and controversial one. City levelled it up in ridiculous fashion when Sergio Aguero’s spot-kick cannoned off the upright and went in off goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt, and the bizarre was then followed by the controversy as Aguero snatched the winner two minutes from time despite television replays showing that the Argentinian was in an offside position. VAR was not in use though and Manchester City had firmly dodged a bullet to book their place in the semi-finals.

Semi-Finals – Manchester City 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 0

With the rest of the top six now out of the competition the pathway to the final was relatively clear for City, and in the semi-finals they would face a team they have regularly beaten in recent years, Brighton & Hove Albion. The Seagulls had not always made life easy for City since arriving in the top flight, but they had suffered defeats in all three of their Premier League meetings and it would be no different in the cup. Gabriel Jesus gave the Manchester club a dream start with a fourth-minute goal, but the Brighton floodgates did not open after that and City advanced to the final by the slimmest of margins.

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Manchester City’s Road To The FA Cup Final

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