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Manchester City cruise into FA Cup semis

Manchester City cruise into FA Cup semis
Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne in action during their FA Cup match against Newcastle United.
London, Jun 29 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 6/29/2020 10:23:50 AM IST

Kevin de Bruyne’s first-half penalty and a superb strike by Raheem Sterling after the break earned holders Manchester City a comfortable 2-0 away win at Newcastle United in the weekend’s last FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday.

City’s domination of the first half was absolute and the only surprise was it took a penalty for them to lead at halftime, De Bruyne slotting home in the 37th minute.

Newcastle did improve marginally after the break and substitute Dwight Gayle somehow missed a gaping goal.

One minute later Sterling curled home a delightful effort to seal City’s progress and set up a semi-final against Arsenal.

All four of this year’s Cup quarter-finals, all played behind closed doors, were won by the away team — the first time that has happened since 1987.

Manchester United will face Chelsea in the other semi-final.

“We are in the semi-finals. It was not easy to attack against a team defending so deep but it was a good performance. I am happy to go back to London, to Wembley,” City manager Pep Guardiola told reporters.

After their midweek defeat at Chelsea, a result that confirmed Liverpool as Premier League champions, Guardiola’s side were fired-up at an empty St James’ Park. Twenty five minutes into the tie, Newcastle had completed only 15 passes and were camped inside their own penalty area as City toyed with them.

Riyad Mahrez wasted three chances for City and Sterling was twice denied by Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow.

Having somehow survived the City onslaught, Newcastle then gifted City an opening goal when Fabian Schar needlessly shoved Gabriel Jesus and de Bruyne tucked away the penalty. Newcastle showed more intensity after the interval with striker Andy Carroll throwing his weight around but their absent fans watching at home on TV would have been groaning when Gayle somehow fired over the crossbar from Allan Saint-Maximin’s low cross.

That glaring miss looked even more costly a minute later when Sterling, who was inspired throughout, cut in from the left and picked out the bottom corner with a clinical finish.

City may have lost their English crown, but having already bagged the League Cup and still in the Champions League they could still end the most strange of seasons with three cups.

Man Utd to face Chelsea in semi-final 

Manchester United have been drawn to face Chelsea in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, with Arsenal playing holders Manchester City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United side play Frank Lampard’s Chelsea in a repeat of the 2018 final, which was won by the Blues.

Harry Maguire struck an extra-time winner as United saw off 10-man Norwich in the first quarter-final on Saturday, while Chelsea beat Leicester 1-0 on Sunday thanks to Ross Barkley’s second-half strike.

Manchester City beat Newcastle 2-0 in the final quarter-final tie of the weekend, thanks to goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling, to set up a last-four meeting against record 13-time winners Arsenal.

An injury-time strike from Dani Ceballos saw Arsenal squeeze past Sheffield United 2-1 in their last-eight clash at Bramall Lane on Sunday.

Both semi-finals on the weekend of July 18/19 and the final on August 1 are scheduled to be held at Wembley Stadium behind closed doors. 

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