City Steady Quadruple Chase, Beat Iwobi’s Everton to Reach S’final



Duro Ikhazuagbe with agency report

Manchester City’s quadruple chase this season remained on course yesterday as two late goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin de Bruyne broke Everton’s resistance by reaching the FA Cup semi-finals for a third successive season.

A fiercely contested quarter-final looked like it was heading for extra time as Alex Iwobi who came on as a late substitute and his teammates defended resolutely and went close in the first half when Yerry Mina’s header was cleared off the line.

Despite dominating possession at Goodison Park, City struggled in front of goal for most of the game, with Raheem Sterling’s poorly hit shot tipped round the post by Everton’s third-choice keeper Joao Virginia.

After Pep Guardiola brought on Riyad Mahrez and De Bruyne, they finally breached Everton’s well-marshalled defence when Gudogan headed in with six minutes remaining after Aymeric Laporte’s shot was tipped onto the bar.

De Bruyne then fired in with a crisp shot to ensure their progress in the 90th minute, meaning City have won 25 out of their past 26 games in all competitions.

For Everton, who still threatened despite having little of the ball, it was a sterling attempt to try and stop the City juggernaut.

Despite missing out on a first FA Cup semi-final since 2016, they will now focus on their league campaign in an attempt to reach Europe next season.

City’s pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple has looked seamless at times this season and the late substitutions showed the armoury they can call upon.

Having cruised through the previous stages of the FA Cup, scoring three goals in each of the previous three rounds, Guardiola’s side found it hard to break down a resolute Everton defence, who were missing Michael Keane and had Virginia making only his second start in goal because of injuries to Jordan Pickford and Robin Olsen.

Phil Foden looked most likely to make a breakthrough as he battled it out with Lucas Digne on the right wing, and was perhaps too honest when staying on his feet as he rode a first-half tackle by Mason Holgate. A brilliant take and shot by the winger was inches wide of the post after 65 minutes.

City, who made six changes to the team which beat Borussia Mochengladach to reach the Champions League last eight, did not trouble Everton for much of the game despite dominating possession.

With the clock ticking into the final stages, and Everton digging in, Guardiola was able to bring on Mahrez and De Bruyne to change the game.

De Bruyne had a hand in Gundogan’s opener, as he powered into the box before Laporte let fly, with the German midfielder nodding in his 16th goal in a brilliant season.

With Everton then chasing an equaliser, the game opened up, allowing De Bruyne to make City’s progress safe.

A third successive FA Cup semi-final for the first time since 1934 is a fine achievement, but Guardiola’s team will not be happy unless they finish their campaign with silverware.

Given they are 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League, and face Tottenham in next month’s League Cup final, a domestic treble is now a step closer.