Late goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne clinched Manchester City’s place in the FA Cup semi-finals after a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The Toffees packed men behind the ball in an attempt to nullify City’s attacking threat and chances were rare for both sides.
The deadlock was eventually broken six minutes from time when Aymeric Laporte’s shot rebounded off the crossbar and Gundogan reacted quickest to nod the ball home.
De Bruyne added a second in the 90th minute when he fired into the roof of the net after he was put through by Rodri.
City began the contest with a swagger as they monopolised possession although Everton proved difficult for Pep Guardiola’s side to break down.
A tame Raheem Sterling shot straight at Joao Virginia early on was City’s only attempt on target inside the opening 45 minutes.
Everton briefly flickered into life at the other end when a high ball fell for Richarlison but his bicycle kick sailed over the crossbar.
Everton had the best chance of the first half on the stroke of half-time when a Lucas Digne corner was glanced on by Yerry Mina but Oleksandr Zinchenko was stationed at the back post to head away.
Both sides had chances after the interval with Richarlison volleying wide while a superb fingertip save from Virginia kept out a low drive from Sterling.
Phil Foden flashed a shot past the post just after the hour mark for City before Andre Gomes lashed an effort wide from a good position following a corner.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men appealed for a penalty when the ball appeared to strike the arm of Ruben Dias inside the box, but referee Michael Oliver was not interested.
City’s patience was rewarded when Gundogan dived forwards to head the ball over the line after Virginia had tipped Laporte’s effort on to the crossbar.
De Bruyne made the result certain in the final minute of the 90 when fellow substitute Rodri slipped him in and he fired high beyond Virginia, with Oliver ignoring Everton’s appeals for a high boot by Riyad Mahrez in the build-up.
What does it mean? City continue quadruple bid
City reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the third consecutive season for the first time since doing so between 1931-32 and 1933-34.
They are chasing an unprecedented clean sweep of trophies and this was another hurdle overcome by Guardiola’s side, even if the City boss has banned talk of a quadruple.
City are 14 points clear in the Premier League, face Tottenham in the EFL Cup final and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League quarter-finals and are now Wembley bound once more for the FA Cup final four.
Gundogan remains key man
With 12 goals in 2021 – the most of any Premier League player in all competitions – the Germany international is proving a crucial cog as City head into the business end of the season.
His diving header showed the midfielder’s knack for being in the right place at the right time and was his first headed goal for City since December 2018 against Crystal Palace.
With Everton having their backs to the wall – their possession of 25.9 per cent was their lowest since they played City in March 2018 – they needed Gylfi Sigurdsson to provide the creative spark.
But the Everton number 10 failed to sparkle. He managed just 25 touches in the 90 minutes – the fewest of any Everton player who started – and failed to register a single shot.
Key Opta Facts
– Everton have lost their past seven meetings with Manchester City in all competitions, their longest losing run against an opponent since a run of nine vs Manchester United between 1999 and 2004.
– The Toffees have lost five of their previous six FA Cup games against fellow Premier League opponents.
– Ilkay Gundogan has scored 16 goals in all competitions this season, at least three more than any Manchester City player. He has scored in three consecutive matches for the Citizens for the first time.
– Kevin De Bruyne has been involved in nine goals in his most recent eight FA Cup appearances, scoring four and assisting five.
Manchester City face a trip to Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday, April 3 while Everton return to league action a few days after when they host Crystal Palace on April 5.