Friday 23 February 2018

De Bruyne's arrival sparks city into last 16

Swansea 1 Man City 2

Manchester City's John Stones applauds fans after the game. Photo: Reuters
Manchester City's John Stones applauds fans after the game. Photo: Reuters
Manchester City's Jesus Navas (left) and Swansea City's Jay Fulto. Photo: PA
Manchester City's Vincent Kompany walks off the pitch before the end of the match. Photo: Reuters
Manchester City's Leroy Sane in action with Swansea City's Wayne Routledge. Photo: Reuters

Manchester City recorded their ninth successive win under Pep Guardiola by seeing off Swansea last night.

Captain Vincent Kompany played for the first time since a thigh injury suffered in the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid in early May, but he went off in the dying seconds as second-half goals by Gael Clichy and Aleix Garcia proved enough. Swansea, who have now gone four league and cup games without a victory, had their moments as two much-changed teams delivered an entertaining encounter in west Wales, with Gylfi Sigurdsson scoring during second-half injury time.

But the visitors had an extra touch of class about them - helped by second-half substitute Kevin de Bruyne's introduction - as they moved into the last 16 - where they will face Manchester United - three days before facing Swansea again, when Premier League points will be at stake.

Guardiola made nine changes from the side that brushed Bournemouth aside 4-0 last Saturday, with only Clichy and Kelechi Iheanacho remaining. Kompany's return apart, there were also starts for Leroy Sane, Angelino and Garcia.

City, with Kompany settling quickly and assuredly, made the opening 10 minutes look like a training session. It took a superb point-blank save from Swansea goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt to deny them when he reacted brilliantly after Garcia's cross was deflected goalwards by Swans defender Mike van der Hoorn. And it took the visitors just four minutes of the second half to finally break the deadlock when Kompany began a crisp counter-attack and Angelino's cross found Clichy, whose shot was deflected over Nordfeldt to make it 1-0.

The equaliser almost arrived after John Stones made a hash of clearing from deep, gifting possession to Swansea substitute Sigurdsson, but his shot hit Caballero and City escaped.

And Swansea were then undone again in the 68th minute, with Nordfeldt powerless to prevent Garcia's shot from flashing past him into the net to end any hopes of a fightback by the home team, despite Sigurdsson's late consolation.

Irish Independent

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