Peterborough United 0, Manchester City 2 (FA Cup 5th Round)
Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish scored the goals at Peterborough that sent Manchester City through to the FA Cup Quarter finals.Embed from Getty Images
Peterborough, who are rock bottom in the Championship, more than held their own for an hour into this contest before goals by Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish – both laid on by Phil Foden – finished them off.
City had initially struggled to create chances up front and their defence looked vulnerable to direct pace as the home side made the only shot on target in the first half and looked more threatening early in the second half before City upped a gear and eased through.
Ederson certainly didn’t get the night off and had to be alert to keep a clean sheet after chances from Jeandro Fuchs and Sammi Szmodics.
Even from behind the Posh never gave up with the pace of Ricky-Jade Jones and the workrate of Jeandro Fuchs troubling City throughout and had their manager Grant McCann claiming that their performance tonight would give them belief and was the benchmark for the rest of the season.
Goalscorer Jack Grealish said City deserved the win against Peterborough not least for captain-for-the-night Oleksandr Zinchenko – the Ukraine player who was applauded by City fans at the end of the game, saying:
“It’s been emotional, he’s such a big character in the squad and he’s so underrated as a player.
“It’s been a difficult time for him and everyone associated with the Ukraine team.
“He captained the side and did brilliantly tonight.”
He praised his team mate Phil Foden’s pass for the goal, citing a video of Lionel Messi that both were watching on the trip down to Peterborough, adding: “Phil’s pass was unbelievable – it was just like a video we were watching of Messi before the game!”
And he set himself a target to add more goals to his game, adding: “I expect more, I wanted a lot more this season and the manager has been helping me but he’s said it’s not all about goals and assists.
“But I do want more goals and assists and hopefully that will come now.”
City boss Pep Guardiola mirrored Grealish’s sentiments about Oleksandr Zinchenko but also added that City did well against a committed opponent.
He praised the ‘brilliant’ goals on the night, starting with in-form Riyad Mahrez who broke the deadlock from the right flank, saying: “He’s playing in the position he’s played for all of his career.
“What I am proud of the most is he loves to play football, he would play every day if he could and has incredible quality up front.”
He added: “Jack [Grealish] played really well and had chances in the first half but was more involved in the second half. He played at a really good level.”
And he also said of the looming Manchester derby: “We will try and do a good game against United.”
Emotional night for Oleksandr Zinchenko at Peterborough United
City made six changes from the side that squeezed past Everton at the weekend.
The most notable change saw Ukraine captain Oleksandr Zinchenko selected at left back and handed the City captain’s armband by Fernandinho.
On an emotional night at London Road, the opposition to the conflict in Ukraine was marked by both Posh captain Frankie Kent and Zinchenko who brought the Ukraine flag out.
City added Zinchenko, Nathan Ake, Fernandinho, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, and Jack Grealish to the starting line-up with John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, and Raheem Sterling named on the bench.
City were denied by a bobbly pitch and some wayward shooting from Zinchenko in the early stages as their hosts packed the defence and tried to make the most of the odd counter attack.
It was Jeandro Fuchs who had the first serious chance on goal when he forced an early save from Ederson after he escaped Ake and tried a near post shot after 10 minutes.
Ake and Ruben Dias were also troubled by the pace of Ricky-Jade Jones.
Space for tight for City who found themselves in a battle with the Championship basement club playing above themselves to keep the visitors at bay.
Ilkay Gundogan curled a good effort beyond the back post while Grealish skied a promising chance as City continued to struggle on the imperfect surface with Fernandinho smashing into the goalkeeper as both went for a corner.
Jesus missed a chance to volley a shot in on the Posh goal as the home side made it to the break with the tie goalless.
Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish the difference as Man City beat Peterborough United
John Stones and Aymeric Laporte came on at half time for Dias and Ake as Pep Guardiola looked to improve City’s build-up.
But it was Peterborough who almost took the lead when Sammie Szmodics scuffed his half volley wide after City failed to clear a ball into their box while Phil Foden spotted danger into the City box again and got back to tackle Jorge Grant before the ball arrived at his feet.
Jones tried a ball across the City box which Ederson gratefully gathered up.
But inevitably, City made their hosts pay for not taking their chances when Foden found Riyad Mahrez on the right, and the Algerian cut inside before threading the ball between two defenders and inside the back post beyond the reach of Steven Benda – the 19th goal of his most prolific season as a professional footballer.
Mahrez could have had a second but his shot was deflected over the bar while Jesus was denied by Benda soon after.
The tempo was rising for City and Jack Grealish tapped in his first ever FA Cup goal – only his fourth goal of the season after controlling a superb deep pass into the box by Foden before rolling it home past Benda.
Grant found Marriott and his fierce shot was parried by Ederson while Foden and Gundogan saw chances saved by Benda either side of Joao Cancelo’s fierce shot being blocked.
Marriott could have been clean through in the last five minutes but Laporte eased the ball off him before Grealish was denied a second goal by Benda who tipped his rising shot over the bar.
There was time for a wry smile from Guardiola as Laporte somehow missed an open goal from post blank range after Cancelo’s cross was headed into his path by Stones with Benda on the ground while Foden headed wide deep into injury time as City eased to victory.
GOALS – Peterborough United 0, Manchester City 2 (FA Cup 5th Round)
Peterborough United 0, Manchester City 1: 60. Phil Foden found Riyad Mahrez on the right, the Algerian cut inside and threaded the ball between two defenders and beyond the reach of Steven Benda inside the back post.
Peterborough United 0, Manchester City 2: 67. Phil Foden produced another superb pass from deep in midfield and onto the boot of Jack Grealish whose first touch was equally superb to bring it under control before he slotted past Steven Benda from close range.
MATCH STATS – Peterborough United 0, Manchester City 2 (FA Cup 5th Round)
Peterborough Utd: Benda, Knight, Edwards, Kent (C), Ward (Burrows 79), Grant, Fuchs, Coulson (Mumba 79), Poku (Marriott 71), Jones (Brown 71), Szmodics (Clarke-Harris 71)
Peterborough Utd subs not used: Cornell, Beevers, Corbett, Barker
Booking: Szmodics 70 (foul on Fernandinho)
Man City: Ederson, Cancelo, Dias (Stones 46), Ake (Laporte 46), Zinchenko (C), Gundogan, Fernandinho, Foden, Mahrez, Jesus, Grealish
Man City subs not used: Carson, Slicker, Stones, Sterling, Laporte, Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva
Booking: Ake (foul on Ricky-Jade Jones); Fernandinho (foul on Sammie Szmodics 70)
Goal: Mahrez 60
Referee: Andy Madley