Manchester City outclass Southampton to reach FA Cup semi-finals
SOUTHAMPTON, England: Manchester City produced a decisive late surge to crush Southampton 4-1 in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday (Mar 20) and stay in the hunt for three major trophies.
After going in level at the break, City scored three times in the second half at St Mary’s to book a semi-final against the winner of Sunday’s late game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
City drew first blood through a Raheem Sterling strike in the 12th minute with Southampton defender Jack Stephens at fault, giving away the ball inside the box to Gabriel Jesus, who squared for Sterling to score past goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
Despite conceding early, Southampton continued to threaten. They created a string of opportunities and their pressure told just before halftime.
Stuart Armstrong played a superb through ball to Mohamed Elyounoussi, whose low cross was turned into City’s net by defender Aymeric Laporte for an own goal.
But Southampton’s efforts were undone by Mohammed Salisu, who needlessly brought down Jesus to concede a penalty in the 61st minute.
Kevin de Bruyne stepped up to convert from the spot, with his tame effort creeping under Forster’s outstretched arm.
Che Adams had a great opportunity to level, shooting straight at goalkeeper Zack Steffen, and Southampton were punished two minutes later when Phil Foden lashed home a thumping strike from the edge of the area to increase City’s advantage.
Riyad Mahrez completed the rout in the 79th minute, turning in a Joao Cancelo cross to cap off a free-flowing attacking move from City.
“They push you with incredible intensity but the goal we conceded was a consequence of us forgetting to play,” City boss Pep Guardiola told BBC.
“It was not a comfortable victory but now we go into the international break, there are two months left in the season and we are in three competitions – semi-final of the FA Cup, quarter-final of the Champions League and top of the league.
“We know every game is a final and we knew it was important not to lose today.”