Manchester City continued their FA Cup defence with a comfortable win on Wednesday night, as they beat Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 at Hillsborough.
City had chances few to break the deadlock in the first half, though couldn’t find a way through. Nicolas Otamendi hit the bar with his header, while his centre-back partner John Stones couldn’t find the target with a close-range effort.
The Citizens began the second half all guns blazing, with Benjamin Mendy’s strike cannoning off the crossbar. They finally broke the deadlock seven minutes after the restart, as Sergio Aguero’s shot was too hot to handle for Joe Wildsmith and found its way over the line to put City ahead.
Sheffield Wednesday Player Ratings
Starting XI: Wildsmith (5); Palmer (6), Iorfa (7*), Borner (6), Fox (6); Murphy (6), Lee (6), Bannnan (6), Da Cruz (6); Pelupessy (5); Forestieri (5).
Substitutes: Lees (6), Fletcher (6), Hunt (6).
Dominic Iorfa deserves the main credit for reducing the English champions to one goal, in a solid display at the centre of defence. Wildsmith made some good saves yet was responsible for the deciding goal, whereas Iorfa was calm and composed against a dangerous attacking side.
Key Talking Point
Manchester City went into Wednesday’s FA Cup tie on top form, following Champions League victory over Real Madrid and silverware in the form of the Carabao Cup. Yet their first half display was fairly lacklustre, as they failed to really lay a glove on the hosts and struggled to create anything.
Thankfully for Pep Guardiola, City turned their domination into goals by going ahead early in the second half. They had maintained their control and now had the lead they needed, and despite wasting a flurry of opportunities, the Citizens managed to cruise to a comfortable victory.
It wasn’t a vintage City performance, but after two intense games in four days they can be forgiven, especially given the final result. Manchester City march onto the FA Cup quarter finals with a narrow yet deserved win, as the domestic cup double remains in sight for the reigning champions.
Man City Player Ratings
Starting XI: Bravo (6); Cancelo (6), Stones (6), Otamendi (6), Mendy (7); B.Silva (6), Rodri (6), D.Silva (6); Mahrez (7), Aguero (7*), Jesus (6).
Substitutes: Sterling (N/A).
Sergio Aguero did exactly what he had to do, taking his chance to score the game’s winning goal. Aside from his winning strike, the Argentine was lively in and around the box, testing the Sheffield Wednesday defence all night long and creating chances for his teammates in an effective display up front.
Sheffield Wednesday face two Championship promotion chasers next, starting with a trip to Brentford on Saturday. The Owls are then back at Hillsborough on 14 March, when they welcome Nottingham Forest to south Yorkshire.
Manchester City have a big double bill coming up, with the Manchester derby at Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. City are in midweek action just three days later, when they host Arsenal at the Etihad on 11 March.