Manchester City progressed into the quarter final of the FA Cup, but were made to work hard for their win as Newport threatened the blues in the first half. An opening goal by Leroy Sane was followed by a Phil Foden brace, with Riyad Mahrez putting the icing on the blue cake with the fourth to send City through.
But the match itself wasn’t as easy as the scoreline suggests, with the blues having to contend with a small, tight ground and a pitch that was reminiscent of the Wembley pitch during City’s 1-0 win at Spurs. Add to that Newport’s relentlessly noisy fans and a team that showed they weren’t there just to make up the numbers, Pep’s team soon realised they would have fight for everything if they were to advance and put to bed the memory of last season’s fifth round defeat at Wigan.
City showed just how seriously they took the threat from Newport by fielding a very strong, experienced side however, they did leave Kevin de Bruyne on the bench and left top scorer Sergio Aguero out of the squad completely. But how they could have done with the Argentine’s nose for goal in a first half that brought no goals, but a fairly even contest where both sides could have taken the lead.
And it was the home side who had the first sniff of goal in the 15th minute. Mickey Demetriou’s long throw in was flicked on inside the penalty area and it looked all over a goal when Tyreeq Bakinson’s header flew towards goal, only for City keeper Ederson to react brilliantly and palm the ball away.
Leroy Sane hit the Newport bar in the 35th minute as the blues tried to silence the noisy home crowd and there were strong claims for a penalty for the bleus when Sane’s shot struck the arm of Mark O’Brien just before half time, only for the referee to turn down the claims for a spot kick. Newport will have been the happier of the two sides going into the break, but it was a different story in the second half.
Six minutes after the restart, the blues were ahead. Leroy Sane’s shot smashed into the face of the Newport keeper and the ball bounced up and down again onto the line and into the net, with Phil Foden on hand to make sure it went in. The home keeper was left with a bloodied nose, and perhaps should have done better to save the shot with his hands, rather than his face. The blues didn’t care though and pressed for further goals in an attempt to put the tie to bed.
Danilo struck the post as the blues searched for the second goal that should have killed the game off and it came in the form of the ‘Stockport Iniesta’ himself as Foden appeared to wrap up the tie. Collecting the ball inside the City half, Foden raced forward, before cutting inside and hitting a shot that the keeper should have saved, but seemed to go through his hands and into the goal for 2-0. That was that. Or so we thought.
Padraig Amond gave the League Two side a glimmer of hope when he continued his record of scoring in every round by taking a long ball and knocking the ball over Ederson for 2-1. But City were in no mood to allow Newport a comeback and quickly finished the tie off with a third, and once again it was Foden’s magical feet that settled it. The youngster twisted and turned before unleashing a powerful shot beyond the keeper to seal City’s progress.
That effectively sealed the tie, but there was still time for the blues to add a fourth when Riyad Mahrez collected John Stones’ pass and rifled past the keeper at his near post to make it a rather flattering 4-1 scoreline.
So the blues are safely through to the last eight and now travel to Germany for the last sixteen clash with Schalke in the Champions League, a match that will be so different from today’s match, before travelling to Wembley to face Chelsea in the League Cup Final next Sunday.