FA Cup Fifth Round
Wednesday 2 March 2011, 19:45 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta (c), Boateng, Lescott, Richards (Boyata 84), Vieira, Y Touré (Jo 81), Barry, Kolarov, Silva, Balotelli (Tevez 61)
Unused: Taylor, Wabara, M Johnson, Dzeko
Goals: Y Touré (5), Balotelli (25), Silva (70)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Man of the Match: Patrick Vieira
After a demolition of Aston Villa at Eastlands over Christmas and having seen a weakened Villa side, City were confident of progressing to the next round. In fact, it looked an appealing tie to get to, with Everton falling at the hands of Reading the night before.
And it was City who came out of the blocks the quicker. A spell of pressure ended with Gareth Barry, booed by the visiting fans, nearly knocking Petrov’s head off with a long range shot and a Kolarov cross being put behind for a corner by Clark.
From that corner, City made their early pressure play. Vieira got a flick on Kolarov’s wicked delivery and the ball bounced back off Clark, leaving Yaya Touré to swivel and smash the ball past Friedel from inside the six yard box. Villa were already struggling and it looked like they were going to have a mountain to climb.
Nevertheless, the goal did spur them into a bit of life, with Barry Bannan firing over the bar after a low cross had found him inside the area. But then, just as Villa appeared to be settling into the match, City doubled their advantage. A brilliant pass from Vieira set Balotelli through on goal and it was some finish from the Italian on the half volley, in off the post.
At the half drew to a close, Villa upped the tempo to try and get back into the game. Agbonlahor couldn’t get the better of Boateng in the area, before Heskey shot from just inside the box, forcing Hart into a good save. The shot spilled to Delfounso, but Kolarov was there to put it behind.
City weren’t too far away from a third goal just before half time as Kolarov spotted Balotelli free on the edge of the box, and the Serbian’s low delivery was sliced wide. Nevertheless, City were ahead at the break and had been the better side by a mile.
The second half began to get a little feisty as Agbonlahor fouled Richards on the edge of the box, before Richards went in with a tough, but fair, challenge in return on the Villa man. Dunne and Touré exchanged words, before Balotelli was booked for a stray arm into the face of Herd.
Balotelli was close to finding Touré with a driven free kick from the corner of the box, before Tevez joined the action and immediately got himself into the thick of the action. Soon after, it was his presence in the box that left a Kolarov cross to be nodded down to Silva. He took a touch and fired it straight past Friedel to seal the game.
City tried to finish off the game in style, but a brilliant instinct save from Friedel denied Tevez from a great Barry pass, before Tevez flicked it to Silva who, in turn, flicked it to Jo, but the big Brazilian could only fire it straight at the goalkeeper.
The final action of the game saw Young smash a free kick over Joe Hart’s crossbar and City were safely into the next round to face Reading at home. It won’t be an easy tie, but it could have been worse.