Bernardo Silva fires Man City into record sixth successive FA Cup semi-final

By Sports Desk March 16, 2024

Two deflected strikes from Bernardo Silva saw Manchester City become the first team in the history of the FA Cup to reach the semi-finals six seasons running with a 2-0 win over Newcastle.

Pep Guardiola may not want to talk about the prospect of a second treble, but his side are now unbeaten in their last 22 games in all competitions going into the international break after what turned into a Saturday evening stroll in the Manchester rain.

Newcastle can point to a crippling injury list, but the team that ended City’s aspirations in the Carabao Cup back in September could barely lay a glove on them this time, finishing the match with only two efforts at goal to City’s 16.

Guardiola made five changes to the side held 1-1 at Liverpool last weekend, some of them enforced after injuries to Ederson and Kevin De Bruyne, but his players did not skip a beat as they dominated play from the off.

Silva’s 13th-minute opener was the hosts’ first real sight of goal but it had all been City up to that point as they looked for an opening.

When Silva took a stride forward in the Newcastle box, he found space to try a curling shot which deflected off Dan Burn to leave Martin Dubravka wrong-footed.

The second goal came in the 31st minute. Where Silva hit the opener with his right foot, this time he cut inside on to his left and looked for the far post, instead finding the net with the help of Sven Botman’s head.

Newcastle needed a response as the game threatened to get away from them before half-time. In the 36th minute Burn headed Jacob Murphy’s ball back across goal to Alexander Isak, but his well-struck shot was kept out by the left palm of Stefan Ortega.

The German goalkeeper would have always expected to play in this match as Guardiola’s regular cup starter, but it was a welcome sign for City given the injury Ederson suffered at Anfield last weekend.

At the other end a lovely spin from Phil Foden put the England man through on goal, but Bruno Guimaraes did well to force him wide as his off-balance shot missed the target.

They kept the pressure on in the closing minutes of the half as Dubravka saved from Jeremy Doku and then, from the resulting corner, kept out Ruben Dias’ close-range header.

And City were straight back on it at the start of the first half as Foden’s flick released Doku, whose low shot across goal was well saved by the goalkeeper.

Erling Haaland, whose scored five goals as City brushed aside Luton 6-2 in the previous round, then tried his luck, taking the ball from Mateo Kovacic on the halfway line and driving at the Newcastle defence before curling a shot narrowly wide of the post.

The third goal that might have killed the game off completely would not come, yet City rarely looked troubled.

In the 65th minute Silva was dispossessed and Newcastle substitute Miguel Almiron charged at goal. Isak, in plenty of space to his right, demanded the ball but when it came, the pass was behind him and the chance – a rare one for the Magpies – disappeared.

City sent on Oscar Bobb, scorer of their stoppage-time winner at St James’ Park in January, and Julian Alvarez as they kept looking for a third, but Haaland was twice denied late on.

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