MAN CITY 9, BURTON ALBION 0
Manchester City’s biggest win for more than 31 years assured them of a place in the final of the Carabao Cup.
Though the second leg of the semi-final is still to come at Burton Albion, there will be no way back for the battered Brewers on a record-breaking night for City.
It was the biggest-ever margin of victory in the semi-finals of any English cup competition and the first time since Leeds United in 1967 that a team in any of the top four divisions had scored seven goals in back-to-back games.
Gabriel Jesus led the way with four goals, including a 29-minute hat-trick and the first time he had ever scored four goals in a game. There was one apiece for Kevin De Bruyne, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker and Riyad Mahrez.
It gave City their largest victory since beating Huddersfield Town 10-1 in November 1987 on a day when three players scored hat-tricks.
This was Burton’s first-ever meeting with City, one they will quickly want to erase from the memory after the League One side was outclassed by ruthless opponents.
Most side scoring four, five or more goals would have eased up, but not City who were relentless.Embed from Getty Images
Burton manager Nigel Clough said: “My players were wide-eyed at half time. They had seen the City players on television, but never actually been out there to see how good they were.
“I don’t think my players could have done much more when you look at the quality out there in terms of the gulf between the two teams that was too much to comprehend.
“People talk about the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United bridging the gap with City, but you are talking here about a team midway down League One
“I hate losing 9-0, but it was nothing more than I expected. They don’t just beat teams, but annihilate them.
“When you look at their front five, if they play in the semi-final of the Champions League against Real Madrid, they will give them problems.”
Clough added the game was a celebration of the achievement of reaching the semi-final, something most clubs of their size will never do.
City manager Pep Guardiola echoed the same sentiments adding it was a great achievement to claim one Premier League and three Championship scalps on their epic cup run.
He was delighted to have reached the final, even though this is the less prestigious of the four pieces of silverware they are chasing.
“Manchester City does not have a museum that is full of trophies. We have to take our chances and are delighted to be back at Wembley,” he said.
Guardiola explained the difference between the Premier League and League One is the quality of the players, the rhythm and high intensity and over 90 minutes their physicality was higher.
He also explained his side didn’t ease up in the second half out of respect for the competition and also their opponents, but added he never expected to score so many goals.
Guardiola was especially pleased for Jesus who extended his season’s goals total from eight to 12 and including nine goals in eight cup games this season.
“Strikers need goals and he had many chances in the last game and it was good for him, good for the team and good for everybody,” he said.
Guardiola described it an “honour” to play against Nigel Clough saying he had an “incredible father who was a charismatic person” before detailing Brian’s achievements which demonstrated a great understanding of the history of English football.
Only five of the City side that put seven goals past Rotherham remained – Walker, Ilkay Gundogan, Nicolas Otamendi, Jesus and Zinchenko.
It was still a City team packed with international stars as Bruyne, Leroy Sane, David Silva and record-buy Mahrez all won recalls.
And the bench included Brazilian internationals Ederson and Danilo, John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva.
Many of the Brewers’ fans were delayed by an accident on the M6, but the decision was made not to put back kick off.
And the late comers missed City taking the lead after five minutes through De Bruyne.
David Silva delivered a delicious cross from left of centre and De Bruyne ghosted from deep to head home from nine yards.
Burton ought to have equalised in the 12th minute when Marcus Myers-Harness missed a relative sitter.
A low cross from the left somehow found its way to Myers-Harness completely free on the far side of the box, but he blazed over.
Mahrez found the net with a sumptuous finish from a Gundogan cross, but the goal was ruled out as he had strayed offside.
City doubled their advantage on the half hour when Jesus found the net.
Sane was heavily involved in the build up and his shot was blocked by keeper Bradley Collins but the ball bounced up invitingly for Jesus to head home from three yards.
The floodgates began to open as City scored a third goal four minutes later.
Gundogan supplied the cross, David Silva cushioned a pass back to Jesus who found the net from seven yards in off the upright. VAR needed to check the goal as Jesus was offside early in the build-up.
City added a fourth goal in the 37th minute, a spectacular effort from Zinchenko from 20 yards that looped over Collins after Sane provided the assist. What a great way to score his first goal for the club.
And but for a fine reflex save from Collins it would have been five before the break as he superbly denied Mahrez.
Referee Mike Dean referred a City penalty appeal to VAR following a challenge by Ben Turner on Jesus, but it was not given.
Clough sent his Burton side out well before City reappeared and the Brewers began the second period brightly.
Scott Fraser wasn’t far off a goal when his shot dipped narrowly over the crossbar.
It was only a temporary reprieve as City soon added a fifth goal as Mahrez teed up Jesus to head home the goal that completed a second hat-trick at the Etihad.
City’s first change in the 58th minute saw De Bruyne replaced by teenager Phil Foden who found the net within five minutes of his entrance.
Gundogan released Jesus whose shot was well blocked by keeper Collins but the ball ran free to Foden to slot home from six yards, his second home goal for City with both coming in the space of four days.
Jesus scored his fourth and City’s seventh midway through the second period with a close-range shot after Sane supplied the cross from the left.
Bernardo Silva replaced Sane moments later, but it failed to disrupt City’s flow.
They soon bettered the seven goals against Rotherham with an eighth as right-back Walker got into the scoring act.
Burton’s defence was ripped open again as Mahrez cross from the left was fired home by Walker from 10 yards, and there was still 20 minutes left to play.
City’s third and final change saw Walker make way for Danilo.
And City came within inches of a ninth goal when David Silva’s shot struck the upright with Collins beaten.
The ninth goal arrived with six minutes left when Bernardo Silva crossed from the left and Mahrez scored a scruffy goal that crept past Collins.
The crowd’s response was to chant for a 10th goal which almost came with three minutes left when Otamendi’s header was saved on the line by the diving Collins as they just came up short on reaching double figures.