Manchester City cruised into the FA Cup quarter-finals for a fifth year running following an emphatic 3-0 win over Bristol City.
The Championship outfit put up a brave fight but two goals from an inspired Phil Foden followed by a Kevin de Bruyne stunner proved the difference between the sides.
Nigel Pearson’s Robins were unbeaten in 12 games in all competitions ahead of this one and tried their best to pull off an almighty giant killing.
But strikes from Foden either side of the break before a long-range bullet from De Bruyne sent City into the hat for the next round.
City did not have to wait long to take the lead though with Foden firing high into the roof of the net from Riyad Mahrez’s pass across the face of goal.
The hosts did not buckle though and had a good shout for a penalty declined when Mark Sykes went down under a challenge from Rico Lewis in the area while Alex Scott forced a decent save from City keeper Stefan Ortega.
Bristol City, who were spared having to deal with rested Erling Haaland, were still very much in the game until De Bruyne split their defence with a ball to Nathan Ake whose pass eventually fell to Foden for a shot deflected into the net off of Zak Vyner.
“It was really tough. Bristol showed us how good they can be. I was impressed by some players, I didn’t know them. The second half was much better,” Guardiola said.
Elsewhere, Leicester City’s hopes of repeating their 2021 triumph were dashed on Tuesday.
Leicester were booed off after a 2-1 home defeat by second-tier Blackburn Rovers for whom Tyrhys Dolan and Sammie Szmodics were on target before a Kelechi Iheanacho reply.
Promotion-chasing Blackburn thoroughly deserved their win at Leicester whose form remains wildly unpredictable.
“It’s just consistency and mentality and ambition to succeed. That’s been too up and down for us,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said.
“I’m really disappointed for the supporters. It’s been a real challenge for them this season. The FA Cup was an opportunity to get to a quarter-final, against a Championship team at home, but they were a lot better than us, and we have to be worried about that.”
Fulham reached the sixth round for the first time in 13 years with superb goals by Joao Palhinha and Manor Solomon earning them a 2-0 win over fellow top-flight side Leeds United.
Bristol is yet to be beaten this year. The Cider Army has acquired wins in the FA Cup over West Brom and Swansea. Bristol posts the 11th-best home record in the Championship. They have 26 points in 18 games played on familiar territory. For the entire campaign, Nahki Wells leads the team with 11 goals, and he is also the joint leader in assists with four together with Cameron Pring, Alex Scott, and Andreas Weimann. Antoine Semenyo and Tommy Conway are second in the team for goal contributions with nine.
Pearson will still not employ Tomas Kalas, Andreas Weimann, Robert Atkinson, Kane Wilson, Tommy Conway, and Kal Naismith as they are still dealing with injury issues. Matty James, Alex Scott, and Cameron Pring are in danger four picking up numerous yellow cards; an additional one will suspend them in the next games. Wells and Scott will be joined by Sam Bell and Mark Sykes in the front. James and Joe Williams will see time as starting midfielders.
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