Dzeko double brings end to Leicester resistance
Leicester City 1 Manchester City 3
The occasion had contained all the trappings of Leicester's main aim this season: Premier League opposition, full house, and even a sprinkling of star-dust at the break with a rapturously received performance by Sam Bailey, a local prison warder now focusing on different releases after winning X-Factor. Leicester were also reminded of the gulf in class between the divisions.
The quality of the visitors was simply too good for the Championship hosts whether through Aleksandar Kolarov's curling free-kick to open the scoring, Edin Dzeko's poaching, Jack Rodwell's driving runs, David Silva's subtle passing or James Milner's crossing.
Only the agility and positioning of Kasper Schmeichel, who learned his goalkeeping trade at Manchester City, kept the score down.
Not until Lloyd Dyer gave Leicester some late hope did Manchester City look worried.
Class told early. Kolarov's finish was unstoppable and the Premier League side tightened their control with Dzeko's double either side of the break.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini had paid Leicester the compliment of fielding a reasonably strong side. Yet the priority of promotion was reflected in Nigel Pearson's decision to keep Jamie Vardy on the bench for 45 minutes, with focus partly on QPR on Saturday.
City, too often unconvincing away from home, were utterly dominant, building efficiently from the opening exchanges. Kolarov's opener after eight minutes was a moment of dead-ball class. Anthony Knockaert fouled Dzeko 30 yards out and Kolarov took charge. The ball flew over the wall and curled away from Schmeichel.
Dyer's pace worried Pellegrini's side at times. Jesus Navas was cautioned for a professional foul when Dyer flew through the middle.
However, the force remained with the visitors. Schmeichel saved from Dzeko and then punched a Kolarov volley over. Rodwell twice went close.
Milner's form, and frequent use from the bench by Pellegrini, signals he certainly has a future at the Etihad. He provided the crosses either side of the break for Dzeko to usher the visitors towards the semi-finals.
The Bosnian's first was a header after Milner had delivered the ball towards the far post. The second was a low shot, following Milner's cutback. Dzeko was unmarked and it was all too easy. In between the goals, Schmeichel denied Navas and Dzeko.
Pearson sent on Vardy, who almost helped engineer a goal, combining with Danny Drinkwater to set up Andy King, whose shot arrowed straight at Joe Hart. Dzeko then made it 3-0.
Hart became more involved and was beaten with 13 minutes remaining when good work from Paul Konchesky created a chance for Dyer, who caught the ball strongly. It deflected off Kompany past Hart, who stood no chance. (© Daily Telegraph, London)