Manchester City 5-1 Huddersfield: Pep Guardiola moves closer to first major trophy
By Lewis Jones
Last Updated: 02/03/17 7:45am
Pep Guardiola moved closer to winning his first major trophy with Manchester City after they beat Huddersfield 5-1 to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Following a 0-0 draw in the first meeting, both teams released the shackles in a richly entertaining replay where City fell behind early but scored three goals in eight first-half minutes to turn the game on its head.
Huddersfield took an early lead through Harry Bunn, who took advantage of some more questionable goalkeeping from Claudio Bravo but City hit back and scored through Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta in a whirlwind period of attacking before Aguero and Kelechi Iheanacho added gloss to the victory with late goals.
City will now face Middlesbrough in the last eight while Huddersfield can concentrate on winning promotion to the Premier League, starting with their crunch Sky Bet Championship clash with second-place Newcastle on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
Guardiola named a strong side for a game he called "a final" with Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Sane and Raheem Sterling all starting in an exciting attacking foursome.
With 8,000 fans packed in the away end, David Wagner, who was watching from the stands, made nine changes to their last Sky Bet Championship game with Barnsley. Key midfielder Aaron Mooy, who is on loan from City, was ineligible while Dean Whitehead was making his 500th start of his career in all competitions.
Guardiola's side opened up Huddersfield with their first major attack on five minutes as Sane smacked an effort against a post after a flowing move.
City had been knocked out by lower league opposition in two of the last three years and Huddersfield sensed their opportunity to add their name to that list in the opening stages.
Philip Billing's clever flick behind Zabaleta sent Bunn - a former City academy graduate - through on goal and he took his chance by firing low past Bravo, who should have done better.
City took a while to respond as a few passes went astray in midfield but they always looked a threat when Sterling got on the ball. It was his great work down the right flank that brought the scores level on 30 minutes and kick-started the City goal blitz.
The England man tormented Tareiq Holmes-Dennis before sliding a low ball across the six-yard box which was on a plate for Sane to poke home from two yards out.
Three minutes later, Huddersfield found themselves behind. Zabaleta chipped a ball into the area aimed at Nicholas Otamendi, who was being closely marked by Jon Gorenc Stankovic. The pair wrestled for the ball but Stankovic got too tight to the Argentinean and the referee awarded the penalty. Aguero stepped up and whipped the ball into the top corner.
The City striker could have added to his tally 90 seconds later but his low effort from 20 yards cannoned back off the foot of the post.
Huddersfield were now reeling and City did get their third on 38 minutes.
Aguero sensed the anxiety in the Town back four and slalomed past them down the right edge of the area. His effort was palmed back to him by Joel Coleman but Aguero kept his composure and slid the ball across the face of goal for Zabaleta to tap in from close range.
Huddersfield could have been forgiven for shutting up shop in the second half but they continued to attack and Joe Lolley really should have reduced the deficit on 55 minutes but headed over from 10 yards out.
The belief of a sensational comeback was diminished by Aguero on 74 minutes when he turned home Sterling's near post cross before his replacement Iheanacho netted a fifth on the stroke of full-time.