Manchester City’s victory march rolls on at pace through Swansea

Pep Guardiola’s side too strong for Welsh side as they make FA Cup quarter-finals

Swansea 1 Manchester City 3

The Manchester City machine rolls on unparalleled. Pep Guardiola's side cruised to a record-breaking 15th consecutive win and, from the moment Raheem Sterling doubled City's advantage, it was clear Swansea would become their latest prey.

It was not a perfect night – Rodri limped off and Morgan Whittaker pulled a goal back for the Championship promotion hopefuls – but City nevertheless strolled into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, with Gabriel Jesus’s superbly-taken strike perhaps the pick of the bunch.

To put the gravity of the task facing Swansea into context, Guardiola’s side have now won 19 of their past 22 matches, scoring 52 goals and conceding just six along the way, one of which came here, when Whittaker fired in smartly after swivelling in the box.

READ MORE

Swansea's manager, Steve Cooper, acknowledged only a perfect performance would topple City and one defensive lapse allowed Kyle Walker's teasing cross to dribble into the far corner inside half an hour. Ferran Torres and Jesus flung themselves at the ball but neither made contact and Walker could not hide his grin.

City would have opened the scoring before then but for the Swansea goalkeeper Freddie Woodman. Not for the first time, the home side failed to make the ball stick in attack and Jesus slipped in Torres, a familiar foe for Joel Latibeaudiere and Marc Guehi in the hosts' defence. Torres lined up for Spain in the Under-17 World Cup final in India, which England, propelled by Phil Foden, a second-half substitute here, came back to win under Cooper four years ago.

City made seven changes from the team that wiped the floor with Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday and Swansea also freshened up personnel, with Cooper making five changes. He named a youthful team – at 26, Jay Fulton was the eldest player in the starting line-up – and Swansea's back three were all under the age of 21, including Latibeaudiere, who signed from City in October.

With 72 seconds of the second half gone, Sterling rolled in City's all-important second goal. Rodri won possession, slid the ball into space behind the wing back Connor Roberts, where Sterling applied an ice-cool finish.

Moments later Torres hooked an effort on to the roof of the Swansea net but it was not long before City added a third. Swansea were punished for a loose pass after playing out of the back and Jesus superbly controlled Bernardo Silva’s knockdown with his right foot before hammering home with his left.

In the previous round at Cheltenham, Guardiola had to turn to his substitutes to spare embarrassment but here he had the luxury of being able to give Ilkay Gundogan and Sterling a breather before the hour mark. Ten minutes later Cooper made a quadruple change that, in effect, admitted defeat, withdrawing regular starters with Saturday’s trip to Sheffield Wednesday in mind. – Guardian