Saturday 21 April 2018

City find extra gear to see off battling Magpies

Newcastle Utd 0 Manchester City 2 (After extra-time)

Newcastle United's Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (right) and Manchester City' s Alvaro Negredo battle for the ball
Newcastle United's Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (right) and Manchester City' s Alvaro Negredo battle for the ball

Henry Winter

Manchester City needed something extra-special to overcome a spirited Newcastle United side and it came in the form of extra-time goals from Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko.

In reaching the quarter-finals of the League Cup, City were also grateful to a vital save at 0-0 from Costel Pantilimon, who denied Papiss Cisse from close range. Newcastle had started strongly but City finished normal time the better, with Tim Krul twice thwarting Negredo.

Negredo and Dzeko took their goals well but it was deeply frustrating for Newcastle, who had defended well and played with great conviction and organisation.

Newcastle 'keeper Tim Krul had twice denied Negredo with late saves in normal time to send this tie into extra-time and Newcastle deserved the additional half-hour such had been their industrious response to Alan Pardew's exhortations.

Newcastle were excellent in the first half, lacking only a finish, but City showed more of a threat after the break and the hosts were grateful to their 'keeper, whose saves were richly applauded by the Newcastle supporters.

Pardew had promised the Newcastle fans "a display you can feel proud of" following the significant distress caused by the defeat by Sunderland.

There was a hunger to Pardew's players from the first minute, sometimes excessively such as when Mike Williamson floored Stevan Jovetic, who failed to shake off a calf knock and Negredo came on.

Newcastle almost took an early lead via the most direct route. Krul drilled the ball long, Shola Ameobi flicked on and Papiss Cisse, reacting quicker than Joleon Lescott, lifted the ball just wide of Costel Pantilimon's left-hand upright.

PRIORITIES

The giant Romanian was starting in City's goal as expected. Pantilimon (26) played in the win over Wigan in the third round and was simply keeping his place in this competition, the fourth ranked of City's priorities.

Joe Hart was on the bench and the real indication of the depth of Manuel Pellegrini's anger over the Englishman's mistake against Chelsea will be whether Hart starts against Norwich in the Premier League game at the weekend. With Hart looking on, Pantilimon's goal was under occasional threat.

Newcastle kept charging forward, driven on by Cheik Tiote, their commitment levels set by Mathieu Debuchy. A Massadio Haidara free-kick thudded into Negredo in the wall. Dedryck Boyata, one of 10 City changes, blocked a Cisse shot.

City hit back but ran into determined Newcastle defending, particularly from Debuchy. The French right-back nipped in ahead of James Milner to clear; theirs was a good old-fashioned duel, with Debuchy on top in the first half.

Debuchy then blocked a shot from Aleksandar Kolarov. He was attacking as well, managing to control the ball with his heel as he hared down the right at one point. Debuchy's cross was angled back slightly, towards Yoan Gouffran, whose header was clutched by Pantilimon. Debuchy was constantly involved, soon heading out a Jesus Navas free-kick.

Navas managed one good run at Newcastle's defence in the first half but his cross was blocked by Haidara. Gouffran worked hard to track with Navas, helping Haidara out.

Down the other end, Pantilimon was soon brought into action, pushing out a hand to divert a shot from Ameobi.

Cisse then wasted the chance of the half, striking the ball across goal with Pantilimon left unprotected by his defence. Cisse's strike was going wide until the offside Ameobi intervened, turning it in. Derek Eaton's flag signalled he was offside. Vurnon Anita then swept a volley well wide.

Newcastle were by far the brighter, living up to Pardew's promise to the fans. Haidara went flying down the left and was brought down by Javi Garcia. City, too listless, did briefly keep Krul on his toes.

Negredo volleyed Dzeko's cross so far over. Milner tried to make ground down the left but the alert Debuchy was again too alert.

On the other side, City right-back Micah Richards decided to inject some life into the side he was captaining for the night.

He picked up possession around the halfway line and stormed forward but his finish lacked the promise of his run. City needed more creativity, a touch of subtlety which arrived after 64 minutes with the arrival of David Silva, who replaced Jack Rodwell.

Milner moved alongside Garcia in the centre. Silva was drifting in from the left but Negredo and Dzeko were often contesting the same areas.

The tempo was rising, as both sides worked hard to avoid the looming extra time.

Pardew sent on Yohan Cabaye to bring an extra edge to Newcastle's attacking movement, although sacrificing Ameobi, who had done well. There was a brief scare for Pardew when Richards fell accidentally into Tiote, whose right leg buckled under the impact. Fortunately, the Newcastle captain was able to continue.

City were increasing their pressure on Krul's area. Navas was running at Paul Dummett, occasionally past him, and one of his whipped crosses to the near-post was headed just wide by Dzeko.

City were pushing on more and more. Negredo advanced into a promising position and then attempted to dink the ball over Krul, who read the striker's intentions and managed to claw the ball away.

Newcastle continued to defend well, and Tiote did brilliantly to repel a couple of attacks.

Injuries then disrupted the flow of the tie. Dummett damaged his right hamstring, perhaps trying to keep pace with Navas, and hobbled away to be replaced by Hatem Ben Arfa, with Anita dropping back to left-back.

Then Richards succumbed to cramp and was replaced by Pablo Zabaleta. Cisse tried to prevent extra time with a shot that Pantilimon saved.

It proved such a key moment. City then demonstrated the class in their ranks. Silva conjured up one of those defence-shredding passes for Dzeko to run towards the byline and cut the ball back. Negredo had darted in ahead of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and turned the ball past Krul.

Just before the halfway point of extra-time, City struck again.

Silva again guided a pass through, this time to Milner, who split Newcastle's defence with a fine ball that Dzeko ran on to. The Bosnian timed his run well, taking the ball past Krul, sweeping it into the goal, and ensuring City took a step closer to Wembley. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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