Man City fight back to keep quadruple bid alive
Premier League leaders Manchester City recovered from two goals down to beat Championship side Swansea City 3-2 at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday and progress to the FA Cup semi-finals.
Having secured a last-eight spot in the Champions League to go with their League Cup title, City made a strong start as they looked to continue their quest to become the first side to win all four major trophies in an English season.
However, they were opened up after 20 minutes by Connor Roberts who drew a foul from Fabian Delph in the penalty area and Matt Grimes converted from the spot to give Swansea the lead.
Nine minutes later it was two as former Manchester City youth player Bersant Celina finished off a flowing Swansea move to stun his former employers.
The Premier League side struggled to break Swansea down after the break, but Bernardo Silva’s goal in the 68th minute got the visitors back in the match.
From then on in it was all Manchester City and an own goal off the back of Swansea goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt after substitute Sergio Aguero’s 77th-minute penalty had hit the post levelled the tie.
Aguero missed a glorious chance to score but the Argentine striker had the final say when he headed the winner two minutes from time from what looked an offside position.
“We spoke at halftime that we need one goal and after we score one goal the rest will be easier,” City manager Pep Guardiola said. “But the spirit and persistence helped us to win the game.”
Guardiola named a strong side for the trip to Wales, but left leading goalscorers Raheem Sterling and Aguero on the bench.
City still had plenty of firepower on the pitch but Swansea stood firm in the early stages and after Roberts was upended in the box Grimes stroked home his penalty with aplomb.
Swansea then carved City open with a slick passing move and it was superbly finished off by Celina.
“We try to play that way,” Swansea manager Graham Potter said of the second goal.
“I said before the game if you do be yourself you might just get a miracle.”
After Bernardo Silva’s superb finish with the outside of the boot got his side a foothold in the match, Aguero was presented with the perfect chance to draw City level after Sterling had been felled in the penalty area.
City knew their luck was in after Aguero’s spot-kick went in off the back of Nordfeldt but the keeper then brilliantly denied Aguero from close range.
Aguero had the last laugh, however, when he headed his 28th goal of the season in all competitions, although he appeared to be offside and the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system was not being used in the match to the dismay of the Swansea fans.
“All around Europe there is VAR,” Guardiola said. “Here there is not. I don’t like to win in that way. I am sorry.”
Jimenez, Jota slay United as Wolves reach FA Cup semis
Wolverhampton Wanderers reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1998 by beating last year’s runners-up Manchester United 2-1 with a clinical second-half display in an intense atmosphere at their Molineux stadium.
Mexican forward Raul Jimenez sent the home fans into a frenzy with a scrappy finish to break the deadlock in the 70th minute, snatching at the ball on the turn and beating keeper Sergio Romero who had made two outstanding saves.
Diogo Jota put the home side further ahead with a brilliant solo strike in the 76th, bursting through on the break and fighting off Luke Shaw before blasting the ball past Romero.
United had a red card for defender Victor Lindelof overturned by VAR and Marcus Rashford pulled a goal back in added time but there was no time left to mount a comeback and they fell to a second defeat in a row for the first time since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as manager in December.
Despite the late scare, it was a fully deserved victory for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side who edged the first half and utterly dominated the second.
With their fans singing “We’re on our way back”, Wolves savoured another huge Cup victory after knocking out Liverpool in the third round and will now have a Wembley semi-final to add to their many highlights in a hugely impressive first season back in the Premier League.
“It means a lot, the FA Cup is the oldest competition there is, we played well and we achieved this with the amazing support of our fans, pushing us, believing in us, the noise was fantastic and we did it together,” Nuno told a news conference.
“It is a deserved result, we were outstanding,” Wolves captain Conor Coady added.
“From start to finish we nullified them they are an unbelievable club with talented players, we said before in the changing rooms we have the chance to make history and we now have the chance to go through again.”
United had lost their last game at Arsenal and the absence of Romelu Lukaku through injury meant they lacked presence up front against the intense home side, who sought to cancel out their opponents in midfield while picking them off on the break.
“That was the poorest performance we have had since I’ve been here,” Solskjaer said.
“We started too slowly and played into their hands. Our possession wasn’t bright enough and quick enough, so it’s disappointing.
“This was a big step backwards, mainly because of the quality of the possession and the passing.”
Towards the end of an even first half Wolves caught United out with a threaded pass from Ruben Neves into Jota, who found himself clean through as he entered the box but Argentine keeper Romero made himself big and produced an impressive save.
Wolves then took the game to United after the interval and Romero pulled off a stunning reflex save to tip over a piercing header from Jimenez.
These near misses only made Wolves more determined, and once they found the breakthrough through Jimenez they never looked like letting their lead slip.