City 7 Rotherham 0: Report
City eased into the FA Cup fourth round with a comprehensive victory over Rotherham United.
Goals from Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and a semi Ajayi own goal had effectively ended the contest by the break.
Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane all struck in the second period.
City started in business-like fashion, looking to try and put the tie beyond Rotherham United as soon as possible with a Carabao Cup semi-final against Burton Albion to come on Wednesday.
Pep Guardiola made eight changes from the draining 2-1 win over Liverpool, with only Ederson, John Stones and Raheem Sterling remaining.
Kevin De Bruyne returned and captained the team.
In only the second minute, Gabriel Jesus saw his header clip the bar and minutes later Sterling saw his shot go narrowly wide.
Jesus again went close on eight minutes but couldn’t convert Riyad Mahrez’s inviting low cross into the six-yard box.
The Millers’ resistance, however, ended on 13 minutes when De Bruyne’s clever disguised pass picked out Sterling who glided past one defender before burying a shot past the keeper from eight yards.
Credit to the Championship strugglers, backed by more than 6,000 travelling fans, didn’t capitulate and, having survived a couple more scares, started to come into the game and ask one or two questions of the champions’ defence.
But the Blues were never less than in complete control and that dominance was underlined with a slightly fortuitous second City goal on 43 minutes.
Ilkay Gundogan had space and time on the edge of the box to spot Foden’s dart into the box and the England Under-21 star manged to control the ball with one foot only for it to hit the other knee and wrong-foot the keeper.
If that was little unlucky for Rotherham, two minutes after that, the Blues put the tie to bed as Mahrez played Kyle Walker in down the right and the England defender’s cross was turned into his own goal by Semi Ajayi.
Blues signal intentions
With 10 full internationals and an England Under-21 midfielder starting against Rotherham, City are clearly keen to keep the quest for as much silverware as possible this season.
And when there is criticism that perhaps some clubs don’t treat the competition with the respect it deserves, that accusation cannot be levelled at City.
And with a near-full Etihad Stadium this afternoon, it’s a competition that City fans clearly relish, too.