Manchester City 3-0 Birmingham: Bernardo Silva hits brace and Phil Foden scores as Pep Guardiola’s side ease into the fourth round
- Bernardo Silva scored twice in 15 minutes as Manchester City beat Birmingham in the FA Cup third round
- Silva showed excellent technique for his first goal and then added another following impressive team move
- Riyad Mahrez had a goal ruled out for offside in the second half, with City progressing into the fourth round
- Birmingham came close to scoring in the closing stages as substitute Jeremie Bela shot just over the crossbar
Those with marketing heads at Manchester City have already coined Pep Guardiola’s reign simply as ‘beautiful football’ and that is with days like these in mind.
An afternoon – or the 15 minutes that this remained competitive, to be precise – when the standard of opposition did not really matter. Birmingham City or Barcelona, when City play like this, there is nothing anybody can do.
Take Riyad Mahrez’s perfectly weighted pass with his outstep for the second goal, ending this tie. Defying logic, really, generating major sidespin with his cue to sink a tricky red, using Kevin De Bruyne as the cushion and an onrushing Bernardo Silva timing his run to pot the subsequent black. The trigonometry involved was breath taking and the triangles possess particularly sharp edges.
Bernardo Silva celebrates scoring his second goal as Manchester City prevailed past Birmingham in the FA Cup
Silva steered the ball into the back of the net in the 15th minute as he helped Manchester City progress to the fourth round
Silva’s first goal was a fantastic effort as he demonstrated excellent technique prior to putting Manchester City in the lead
Silva had already scored by that point, seven minutes prior. Another stunning goal, a half-volley somehow struck from behind himself, arrowing into the top right-hand corner. It was brought about by Mahrez’s menacing run at the back post that forced George Friend into rushing a clearance.
By half-time, once the sprightly Phil Foden had sweetly struck a third from 20 yards – a crisp drive skidding across the goalkeeper – Birmingham were exclusively playing in their own half. Aitor Karanka knew very early that there would be no repeat of his heroics here in 2015, when Middlesbrough shocked the then Premier League champions.
Silva congratulates Phil Foden after the youngster scored his side’s third goal of the game when he struck in the 33rd minute
Kevin De Bruyne caused all manner of problems for Birmingham in the first half as Manchester City took control of the game
Manchester City (4-3-3): Steffen 6; Cancelo 6 (Harwood-Bellis 46, 6), Walker 7, Dias 7 (Stones 46, 6.5), Mendy 6.5; De Bruyne 8.5 (Nmecha 46, 6), Rodri 7 (Fernandinho 66, 6), Silva 9; Mahrez 8, Foden 8.5, Jesus 7 (Delap 75)
Subs not used: Ederson, Gundogan, Zinchenko, Mbete
Goals: Bernardo Silva 8, 15, Foden 33
Manager: Pep Guardiola 7
Birmingham City (4-2-3-1): Prieto 6; Colin 6, Clarke-Salter 6, San Jose 6, Friend 5; Kieftenbeld 6.5, Sunjic 6 (Bela 67, 6); Sanchez 6, Toral 56 (Clayton 46, 6), Leko 6 (Jutkiewicz 68, 6); Hogan 5 (Roberts 46, 6)
Subs not used: Etheridge, Pedersen, Dean, McGree, Dacres-Cogley
Booked: Sunjic, Clarke-Salter
Manager: Aitor Karanka 6
Referee: Robert Jones 5
City have never shown mercy at home against lower-league opposition under the current manager, pummelling a few along the way, but rather settled for what they had long before the end, introducing a few younger faces, including bulldozing striker Liam Delap. Birmingham made brief forays into the home third but rarely threatened Zack Steffen from distance.
Gabriel Jesus had squandered three decent chances on his first game back after testing positive for coronavirus on Christmas Eve. He might be available yet, in keeping with City’s season, Sergio Aguero was not, self-isolating at home after someone close to him contracted the virus. That is the majority of Guardiola’s squad who have now endured a brush with Covid at some point.
Birmingham manager Aitor Karanka watched on as his side suffered a defeat against Manchester City and were knocked out
Foden attempts to push forward for City while being placed under pressure from Birmingham’s Ivan Sunjic in the first half
Manchester City star Bernardo Silva is closed down by Jake Clarke-Salter of Birmingham during the FA Cup third round tie
Birmingham’sLukas Jutkiewicz tries to win possession as Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen looks to claim the ball
Manchester City gave a runout to talented youngster Felix Nmecha for the second half of the game at the Etihad Stadium
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