Deflected Silva strikes send Man City into FA Cup semis

Manchester City became the first team in history to reach six consecutive FA Cup semi-finals, with a routine 2-0 win over Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium booking them another trip to Wembley.

Eddie Howe’s side had knocked City out of the Carabao Cup earlier this season but their ambitions of a double success over the FA Cup holders was dealt a blow after just 13 minutes, when Bernardo Silva dribbled into the Newcastle box and then saw his shot loop in off Dan Burn.

Another deflected strike from Silva, this time off Sven Botman, put City out of reach just after the half-hour – although Alexander Isak spurned a big opportunity to haul Newcastle back into the tie before the break.

City continued to dominate in the second half and although a quadruple change belatedly added energy to Newcastle’s play, the result was never in doubt.

Whisper it but, for City, a point off Premier League leaders Arsenal – who they host in their first game back after the international break, live on Sky Sports – and into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the double treble is still on.

When is the FA Cup semi-final draw?

The FA Cup semi-finals will take place on the weekend of April 20 – follow the draw on the Sky Sports website and app on Sunday after Man Utd vs Liverpool.

As for Newcastle, their wait for a major trophy will go into a 70th year and, while they could yet improve their 10th place in the Premier League to secure a Europa League or Europa Conference League spot for next season, their campaign seems set to drift to an underwhelming conclusion.

Player ratings:

Man City: Ortega (7), Walker (7), Dias (7), Akanji (7), Gvardiol (7), Rodri (7), Silva (8), Kovacic (7), Doku (7), Foden (8), Haaland (6).

Subs: Bobb (6), Alvarez (N/A)

Newcastle: Dubravka (6), Murphy (6), Schar (6), Botman (5), Lascelles (5), Burn (5), Guimaraes (6), Longstaff (5), Willock (5), Isak (5), Gordon (6).

Subs: Hall (6), Almiron (6), Anderson (6), Miley (6), Krafth (6)

Player of the Match: Phil Foden (Man City)

How Man City cruised into the FA Cup semi-finals

Newcastle deployed a back three for the first time this season as they went in search of a first win at Man City in 10 years but after a positive opening few minutes, the FA Cup holders began to tick, with Phil Foden and Jeremy Doku twice almost combining to open up the visitors.

Team news:

  • Man City made five changes from the team which drew at Liverpool. Ederson and Kevin De Bruyne were out injured, so Stefan Ortega and Mateo Kovacic came in, while Ruben Dias, Josko Gvardiol and Jeremy Doku returned to the side. Fit-again Jack Grealish was on the bench.
  • Anthony Gordon was fit to start for Newcastle after going off injured at Chelsea on Monday, while Jacob Murphy was handed a start, along with club captain Jamaal Lascelles, who was part of a back three.

Silva struck his first soon after. Newcastle had dropped too deep and the Portuguese took up the invitation to dribble into the box before his shot looped up off Burn and beyond Martin Dubravka.

City were in complete control from there and the second goal was an inevitability – although its similarities to the first will frustrate Howe. Once again his team allowed Silva to bring the ball into a dangerous area and shoot. This time it was Botman’s head which took the ball away from Dubravka.

Bernardo Silva celebrates after his deflected shot gives Manchester City a first-half lead against Newcastle
Bernardo Silva celebrates after his deflected shot gives Manchester City a first-half lead against Newcastle

Isak’s failure to convert a free strike inside the City area moments later seemed to confirm it wouldn’t be Newcastle’s night. His connection was good enough on the bouncing knock down from Burn but Stefan Ortega scrambled across his line to keep it out. It was a rare foray forwards and would be Newcastle’s only shot on target of the match. They ended the half on the ropes, with Foden and Doku threatening again.

The same duo combined at the start of the second half for the latter to test Dubravka, Erling Haaland drove from the centre circle and shot wide and Josko Gvardiol’s volley was deflected over as City picked up where they left off.

Howe made four changes on the hour mark to try to turn the tide and the replacements certainly added energy to Newcastle’s play but they finished the game with just two shots in total and it was City with the late chance, with Haaland’s shot blocked.

Newcastle’s hopes of ending their long wait for silverware were washed away in the Manchester rain as City marched on in search of more glory.

Guardiola: This team’s cup record is incredible

Man City boss Pep Guardiola: “We always expect the best from the team but after we won the treble and five titles, [the fact] we are coming back from the last international break being in contention for all the titles means a lot.

“I know people talk about the Premier League and Champions League a lot but when this team is able to win four Carabao Cups in a row, six FA Cup semi-finals in a row, this team, this club has something special. It’s incredible.”

Howe: City superb but out final-third quality wasn’t there

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe: “The goals are difficult to take, especially the first one. That’s the football gods working against us today in that respect. I thought the lads gave everything but when Man City are in that kind of mood… I thought we did OK. I thought we stuck at it and unsettled them at times. When we did get into the final third our quality wasn’t there and that’s probably the big disappointment.

“We tried to give them a different problem [with the formation change], we tried to be creative with our team selection. We felt two strikers could give us a better platform to attack. Alex’s chance was a big moment but overall we weren’t good enough. I thought technically they were superb today.

“We have a responsibility in the final 10 games to make sure we’re the most competitive team we can be. I still feel we have a huge amount to play for.”

Whisper it… but the double treble is on for Man City

Sven Botman tangles with Erling Haaland
Sven Botman tangles with Erling Haaland

Sky Sports’ Peter Smith:

“Man City will come up against far tougher opposition in the final months of this season across the FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League – but that double treble is most definitely a possibility.

“History would suggest it is next to impossible to repeat a feat that has only ever been done twice before by an English side but City are favourites in each of those competitions, despite a mouth-watering and challenging draw against Real Madrid in the Champions League.

“Their next outing at the Etihad against Arsenal after the international break could be a decisive one in the Premier League title race.

“When City can make five changes, have Kevin De Bruyne sat in the stands and cruise into the FA Cup semi-finals without getting out of second gear, you get an appreciation of just how good they are – and how deep their quality runs. They are going to take some stopping on all three fronts.”

Howe must reinvigorate drifting Newcastle

Martin Dubravka denies Jeremy Doku
Martin Dubravka denies Jeremy Doku

Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds:

“Coventry’s heroic victory at Wolves earlier on Saturday showed that holders City couldn’t take anything for granted when faced with Premier League opposition in their last-eight tie. But Newcastle were too meek, and took their punishment in a way which suggested the outcome was already a foregone conclusion.

“Eddie Howe put on a brave face in the driving rain at the final whistle but he must already be planning for next season. He and those not called up for international duty embark on a fortnight’s rest and recuperation in Dubai during a warm weather training camp.

“They would be forgiven for wanting to stay in sunnier climes for the remaining weeks, given how their season is threatening to peter out. Newcastle are currently 13 points off fifth spot in the Premier League, a position which is likely to carry a Champions League place next season. It means that European qualification could drop down as low as eighth place.

“They are only two points off current occupants Brighton, and that has to be their target.

“They’ve had wretched luck it must be said in their Cup draws this term, including their Champions League group of death which has seen Dortmund and PSG qualify for the last eight. But Howe – who has warned there will not be a drastic summer overhaul – knows he must reinvigorate a depleted squad to ensure a sense of drift doesn’t sweep over St James’ Park.”

What’s next?

The FA Cup semi-finals will take place on the weekend of April 20. Follow the draw on the Sky Sports website and app on Sunday after Man Utd vs Liverpool.

Manchester City host Arsenal in a huge fixture at the top of the Premier League on Sunday March 31, live on Sky Sports. Kick-off 4.30pm.

Newcastle welcome West Ham after the international break on Saturday March 30. Kick-off 12.30pm.

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