Southampton 1, Manchester City 4 (FA Cup Quarter Final)
Manchester City had to work for their win at Southampton to book their place in the FA Cup semi final – it took goals from Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez to make the game safe.
It was the 80th time that City have scored four or more goals under boss Pep Guardiola in all competitions – Liverpool are second on the list of English clubs in that time with 58.
Adam Armstrong and Ilkay Gündoğan hit the woodwork but Raheem Sterling opened the scoring before Aymeric Laporte’s unfortunate own goal levelled things up.
Kevin de Bruyne hit a second half penalty to retake the lead for City after a rash foul by Mohamed Salisu on Gabriel Jesus while Zack Steffen had to pull off a save from Che Adams before substitutes Foden and Mahrez put the game beyond the Saints soon after they came on.
City’s man of the match Kevin de Bruyne was pleased to have booked a place in the Semi Final and was hopeful to reach the final this time around.
He said: “The first 25 minutes we played well but after that we made too many stupid mistakes.
“They played well but we dominated in the second half and did much better.
“Raz [Sterling] asked me if I wanted to take the penalty so I took it – it was close but I put enough power on it.
“We’ve been a couple of times in the semi finals, I hope we can win this time.”
Pep Guardiola agreed and praised City’s opponents who have been unbeaten in the league against City in the Premier League this term, adding:
“We started really well, but we forgot to play after that.
“Southampton are one of the best teams we have played against this season.
“We were much better in the second half, they had one chance with Che Adams but we made some incredible goals.
“It was not a comfortable victory but we now have an international break and two months left in the season.
“Every game is a final now.”Embed from Getty Images
Manchester City made to work for FA Cup quarter final win over Southampton
City made four changes from the side that could only draw against Crystal Palace on Monday.
Zack Steffen, Ilkay Gündoğan, Gabriel Jesus, and Raheem Sterling were recalled to the side with Ederson, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, and Riyad Mahrez rested.
Adam Armstrong’s shot came back off the post after Tino Livramento slipped his markers and found Oriol Romeu who came inside and put him clean through.
City were grateful to clear the shot.
Sterling had already spurned a couple of very good chances to take the lead but he made no mistake from close range after 12 minutes after Jack Stephens’ miskicked clearance from Kevin De Bruyne’s ball into the box only made it to Gabriel Jesus who quickly squared it to the England man.
Sterling’s shot took a deflection off Livramento which fooled Fraser Forster to break the deadlock – it was his 14th goal of the season.
Adam Armstrong fired over the bar as the Saints found joy down their right flank.
But Joao Cancelo created space on the City left smartly and found Ilkay Gundogan who struck the post from close range before Jesus’ followup was blocked by Kyle Walker-Peters.
Rodri hit a long range shot wide but Southampton tried to reply with a series of corners and pressure on City which culminated in an Aymeric Laporte own goal when Mohamed Elyounoussi’s hopeful cross from the right came back off the luckless Spain defender and past Steffen who had come off his line.
Grealish found De Bruyne but Saints defenders converged on the Belgian whose shot was blocked.
Adam Armstrong won a corner as Southampton remained dangerous on the break as sloppiness from De Bruyne threatened to give City’s hosts the lead.
Ward-Prowse’s long range effort forced a save out of Steffen as City struggled to make an impact before a game changing moment took the game away from Southampton.
Mohammed Salisu was penalised for a trip on Gabriel Jesus – a penalty was awarded – and De Bruyne stepped up and put the Blues back in front with a powerful low spot kick which under the body of Forster who guessed correctly and dived to his right but could not prevent De Bruyne from netting goal 11 of the season.
Substitutions were made immediately – Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez were brought on for Jesus and Grealish, while Che Adams and Armando Broja replaced Adam Armstrong and Shane Long.
Stuart Armstrong’s shot was blocked from James Ward-Prowse’s deep corner as Saints tried to get a second equaliser.
Adams shot straight at Steffen after Elyounoussi’s square pass found him in space.
It was a massive let off for City who immediately made Southampton pay for it by lashing home the ball from outside the area with a sweet left foot strike after Salisu failed to clear De Bruyne’s shot – his 11th goal of the season.
And Mahrez made sure of the win with three minutes later with a low strike inside the near post – his 22nd strike of the season after a sumptuous Ilkay Gundogan ball across the edge of the penalty area.
Nathan Ake, Fernandinho and Oleksandr Zinchenko were brought on for the last 8 minutes as Moussa Djenepo was also brought on for Stuart Armstrong with home fans streaming out of St Mary’s.
Mahrez had a chance to put the icing on the cake with 4 minutes to go but put his shot beyond the far post while Sterling missed out on a free header following a great cross by Gundogan as the game wound down.
GOALS – Southampton 1, Manchester City 4 (FA Cup Quarter Final)
Southampton 0, Man City 1: 12. Raheem Sterling opened the scoring with a close range finish from 8 yards with a deflection off Timo Livramento wrongfooting Fraser Forster after Gabriel Jesus squared the loose ball from Jack Stephens’ poor clearance to him from the right.
Southampton 1, Man City: 45+2. Aymeric Laporte deflected Mohamed Elyounoussi’s cross from the right past Zack Steffen, who had come off his line, right before half time.
Southampton 1, Man City 2: 62. Kevin De Bruyne’s penalty kick to the left squeezed under the body of Fraser Forster after Gabriel Jesus had been fouled by Mohammed Salisu.
Southampton 1, Man City 3: 75. Phil Foden smashed the ball past Fraser Forster with a sweet left footed shot after Kevin De Bruyne’s ball into the box was blocked by Mo Salisu.
Southampton 1, Man City 4: 78. Riyad Mahrez latched onto a ball across the edge of the penalty area from Ilkay Gundogan to turn the ball inside the near post leaving Fraser Forster flummoxed.
MATCH STATS – Southampton 1, Manchester City 4 (FA Cup Quarter Final)
Southampton: Forster, Livramento, Stephens, Salisu, Walker-Peters, S Armstrong (Djenepo 83), Romeu (Diallo 88), Ward-Prowse, Elyounoussi, A Armstrong (Adams 63), Long (Broja 63)
Southampton subs not used: Cabellero, Redmond, Perraud, Smallbone, Valery
Goal: Laporte 45+2
Man City: Steffen, Walker, Stones, Laporte (Ake 82), Cancelo (Zinchenko 82), De Bruyne, Rodri (Fernandinho 82), Gundogan, Jesus (Mahrez 63), Grealish (Foden 63), Sterling
Man City subs not used: Carson, Bernardo Silva
Booking: Steffen 71 (time wasting)
Goals: Sterling 12; De Bruyne 62 pen; Foden 75; Mahrez 78
Referee: Mike Dean