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Slick City equal club record with mauling of Clough’s out-of-depth Burton

Manchester City 9 Burton Albion 0

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola shares a joke with Nigel Clough. Photo: Reuters

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola shares a joke with Nigel Clough. Photo: Reuters

Action Images via Reuters

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola shares a joke with Nigel Clough. Photo: Reuters

This was brutal. This was a goal-lust. This was unforgiving; ultra-professional. The romance of the cup? Manchester City doused that.

They went on a rampage to destroy, dismantle and decimate Burton Albion in what turned out to be record margin of victory in a League Cup semi-final and equalled the margin of City's biggest win.

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Burton Albion Goalie Bradley Collins looked dejected. Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Burton Albion Goalie Bradley Collins looked dejected. Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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Forget the second leg. It will be an awkward affair; a glorified friendly; an afterthought, although hopefully a pay-day for Burton.

They have earned it. City, the holders, will meet Tottenham Hotspur or Chelsea in the final.

They have scored 16 goals in two cup ties inside a week at home.

Burton, ninth in League One, never gave up, but never had a chance.

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Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City celebrates with Bernardo Silva as he scores his team's ninth goal. Photo: Getty

Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City celebrates with Bernardo Silva as he scores his team's ninth goal. Photo: Getty

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City should be admired, probably, for never letting up.

"It's about damage limitation," said Burton chairman Ben Robinson before kick-off. That was hardly kidology.

And so damage was inflicted. Barely five minutes had passed before Kevin De Bruyne ghosted between Reece Hutchinson and Ben Turner to meet David Silva's cross and guide his header into the net.

There would have been a shudder from Burton. City had struck seven against Rotherham United in the FA Cup on Sunday and the strength of Pep Guardiola's selection suggested he wanted this tie over in the first leg.

It would be. Even so, it was a surprise not to see Phil Foden afforded another start. Instead, he took his place on the bench with a full debut in defence for Eric Garcia, on his 19th birthday.

For Burton there was the added disappointment of many of their 3,000 supporters missing kick-off because of a closure to the M6.

The start was not delayed, despite large swathes of empty seats and, remarkably, they should have drawn level when Lucas Akins's low cross ran to Marcus Myers-Harness. He had time and space but, somehow, side-footed high and wide.

But it encouraged Burton. Fifty-one places below City in the leagues, in the Blue Square Premier, now the National League, a decade ago, with a top earner on just £3,000 (€3,300), and player wages halved following relegation from the Championship, the gulf between the two clubs was vast.

Record signing Liam Boyce cost £500,000 (€554,000) or less than two weeks' wages for De Bruyne.

Still, he took the ball neatly before slipping a pass to Jamie Allen, who side-footed high over the crossbar as Burton counter-attacked again.

Nigel Clough's side had already beaten Shrewsbury Town, Aston Villa, Burnley, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough to reach the first major cup semi-final in the club's history, but this was a different stratosphere of opponent.

Inevitably, City struck again. Leroy Sane worked his way in from the right before exchanging passes with Ilkay Gundogan. Goalkeeper Bradley Collins blocked Sane's toe-poked shot with a leg, but the ball rebounded up for Gabriel Jesus to head home from close range.

A chorus of "Wembley, Wembley" broke out and that was hardly presumptuous, despite how impressively Burton had played.

Jesus quickly collected his second goal, however. Gundogan, under no pressure, chipped the ball through to Silva, who squared it for Jesus to take his time and stroke a low shot in off a post.

It got worse for Burton. Oleksandr Zinchenko over-hit a left-wing cross, but it deceived Collins and flew high into the net for the defender's first goal for City.

That felt cruel, but the tie was over, although Collins did well to tip over Riyad Mahrez's hooked effort.

Fears were raised that City could beat the record score in this competition so far this season - West Ham United's 8-0 win over Macclesfield Town.

Burton's resistance flickered, even if it was tough going in such a mismatch.

They continued to push on, with Scott Fraser narrowly chipping over from the edge of the area after good work from Akins. But it was City who added to their total, as Jesus completed his hat-trick.

It came with a quickening of pace as Silva slid a return pass through to Mahrez, who stood up a cross that Jesus, having pulled away, headed past Collins.

It triggered the first change by Guardiola, with Foden replacing De Bruyne and he soon had his goal, too.

It should have been a fourth for Jesus, but his shot was blocked by Collins, with the rebound also foiled, only for it to fall to Foden, who stroked it into the empty net.

It was getting ugly for Burton and Jesus did score once more. Sane chested down a cross-field pass and centred with the outside of his boot for the striker to flick past Collins.

Clough buried his head in his coat and did so again as Mahrez squared the ball inside the Burton area and Kyle Walker's first-time, side-footed shot beat Collins.

It was the first time City had scored at least eight since beating Huddersfield Town 10-1 in November 1987, their biggest win, and there was still 20 minutes to go.

What was remarkable was how jubilantly City kept celebrating their goals and eventually it was Mahrez's turn as he met a cross by substitute Bernardo Silva, miscued but then poked the rebound home.

"We want 10," chanted the City fans. City went for it, pinning Burton back but, thankfully for the visitors, it did not go to double figures.

They should be congratulated for coming this far. (© The Daily Telegraph, London)

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