City secure semi-final spot after sensational second half against Southampton


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Man City scored three second-half goals without reply to defeat Southampton 4-1 in the FA Cup Quarter Final.

On a blue-sky day in the warm spring sunshine, the Blues got off to the perfect start going ahead after only 11 minutes through a Raheem Sterling strike, after Jack Stephens had failed miserably to clear the ball. Falling behind early was tough to take for the Saints especially as Adam Armstrong had come close only moments earlier for them when his scuffed shot agonizingly came back off the post with Zack Steffen well beaten in goal for City.

The rest of the first half was fairly scrappy and then out of nowhere the Saints stunned City with an equaliser right on the stroke of half time. Stuart Armstrong prodded a through ball for Mohamed Elyounoussi to run onto which drew out Steffen from his goal. The Norwegian international then cut the ball back into what appeared to be a harmless area only for Aymeric Laporte to deflect the cut back into his own net.

Saints half time joy was short-lived however, not long after the restart Man of the Match Kevin De Bruyne converted a penalty to restore City’s lead after Salisu had bundled Jesus over despite little danger from the Brazilian who was running away from goal.

Scottish substitute Che Adams then had a great chance to get the Saints level again but he could only fire his shot straight at Steffen.

Then a moment of pure quality settled the tie in the 74th minute. Phil Foden hammered the ball into the corner of the net from just outside the box to give City a 3-1 lead.

A fourth quickly followed a few minutes later after a near-post shot from Riyad Mahrez deceived Fraser Forster in goal for the Saints who was rooted to the spot.

After the match, Pep Guardiola seemed relieved by the much improved second-half performance.

“We are a decent team when we don’t forget to play.”

Guardiola was asked whether he thinks City can win the treble following his team’s progression to the FA Cup semi-final. After a long thoughtful pause he replied saying:

“It’s not easy. How many times has this happened in this country – only once.”

Referring of course to their Manchester neighbour’s treble success 23 years ago in 1999.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl was looking at the positives despite the ultimate heavy defeat.

“I’ve not seen many teams play against Man City as well as we did today. Everyone in the stadium enjoyed the game as we were fighting for everything. We need this international break now and hope to come back on full batteries.”

City will also hope to come back fully charged from the break as they face a barrage load of fixtures in their quest for the treble. The reward for their triumph over Southampton is an intriguing trip to Wembley to face Liverpool in the semi-final.

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