Soccer-Man City leave it late to beat Everton and reach Cup semis


Soccer Football - FA Cup Quarter Final - Everton v Manchester City - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - March 20, 2021 Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan scores their first goal Pool via REUTERS/Paul Ellis

LIVERPOOL (Reuters) - Manchester City's quadruple bid remained intact as late goals by Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin de Bruyne secured a 2-0 win at Everton in their FA Cup quarter-final clash on Saturday.

Everton erected a blue wall for most of the game and managed to frustrate Pep Guardiola's side until Gundogan stooped to head home in the 84th minute for his 16th goal of the season.

Late substitute De Bruyne then made City's passage safe with a clinical finish in the 90th minute.

City dominated possession but Everton defended deep and their third-choice keeper Joao Virginia made some fine saves.

The visitors' patience was rewarded though as they joined Southampton in the semi-finals after the south-coast side earlier beat local rivals Bournemouth 3-0 away.

Manchester United visit Leicester City on Sunday with Chelsea hosting Sheffield United.

Guardiola refuses to talk about City claiming an unprecedented clean sweep of trophies this season but it is hard to ignore the fact that his side look unstoppable.

They are running away with the Premier League title, face Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup final next month and are up against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last eight.

Everton did their best to halt the City bandwagon with a disciplined defensive display that drew praise from Guardiola.

"It was a really tough game. We saw the commitment from Everton, how focused they were, they defended really aggressively," Guardiola said.

"It was one of the toughest games we've played in the last four months."

City enjoyed 85% possession in the opening 25 minutes, passing the ball around in silky fashion without forcing Virginia into any meaningful action.

Everton looked to play on the counter-attack and went close to snatching the lead just before the interval when Yerry Mina's glancing header was cleared by Oleksander Zinchenko.

City kept probing after the break and Virginia made a great save to deny Raheem Sterling's shot from a cross by Fernandinho.

Phil Foden went close with a swerving shot soon after before City finally found a chink in Everton's armour.

It was tough on Virginia who made a sensational save to tip Aymeric Laporte's effort against the crossbar but Gundogan was alive to the opportunity and dived to head in the rebound.

De Bruyne, who had replaced Sterling after 80 minutes, then wrapped it up in style after being played through by Rodri.

Guardiola's only current concern is hoping that all of his players return from international duty ready to continue City's charge.

"Hopefully the (COVID-19) bubbles are controlled. I'm looking forward to everyone coming back safe," he said.

For Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti he accepted that his side had been beaten by "the best team in the world".

"It was a good experience for us and there are no regrets," the Italian said. "We have 10 games in the league and we want to fight for our position in Europe next season."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris and Christian Radnedge)

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