Manchester City 1 Norwich City 0
Saturday, March 7th, 2009, 2pm
City of Manchester Stadium - Att: 3,254
City: Clegg; Trippier, Boyata, Wabara, Cunningham; Benali, Tutte (Elabdellaoui, 74), Benali, Ibrahim, Chantler; Mak, Nimely.
Unused subs: Redshaw, Johansen, Guidetti, Helan.
Norwich: Rudd, Francomb (Drmola, 84), Dumic, Stephens, Habergham; Omoregie (Brindley, 76), Adeyemi, Smith, Dawkin; Davey, Kelly.
Unused subs: Clarke, Steer, Reeves.
Goals: 1-0 Mak (19).
City: Ibrahim (64).
Norwich: Smith (12), Dumic (51).
Referee: D Webb.
City supporters took advantage of a fixture-free weekend for Mark Hughes' team to check out the Boy Blues on a bright if nippy afternoon and they were rewarded with a strong-looking side aimed at booking a semi-final showdown for the Cup holders with Arsenal.
Blues keeper Joe Clegg had a gentle start to his testing afternoon with an easy header from defender Dario Dumic that he fielded comfortably when Norwich forced the first corner in the opening minutes.
The Canaries were clearly a tough proposition, with skipper Korey Smith a driving force in central midfield, but City, but he picked up a yellow card as early as the 13th minute for a late challenge on Ahmad Benali meant he had to tread carefully for the rest of the tie.
Norwich fielded the side that had won on penalties against Everton at Goodison in the previous round, but with City themselves unbeaten in 23 league and cup games this season, something had to give.
It did, with 19 minutes on the clock, and it was highly-rated Declan Rudd, capped for England at Under-17 level, who found himself picking the ball out of the net.
Robbie Mak, a veteran of last season's winning campaign, raced onto a good ball from Reece Wabara and evaded Dumic with a dummy and a couple of deft touches before flicking the ball beyond the advancing Rudd's left hand.
Mak's strike partner Alex Nimely almost created a second for Chris Chantler with a lovely lobbed pass that left the winger in space and only Rudd to beat, but the Norwich keeper turned aside his shot brilliantly.
Norwich were a little disappointing as an attacking force but Clegg had to be alert to make a smart reaction save from Danny Kelly's backheader following a long throw as half time approached.
Dumic, not having an easy time of it, committed one offence too many for referee Webb's patience when he barged over raiding left-back Gregory Cunningham and saw the yellow card for his efforts.
The centre-back pushed his luck a couple of minutes later by pulling back Mak by his shirt as the striker attempted to burst through but the referee resisted the 3,254 crowd's demands for the red card this time.
It was hardly the most physical of games, but City midfielder Abdi Ibrahim went into the book after 64 minutes for upending Canaries' David Stephens as Norwich tried to force their way back into the game.
Mak had a glorious chance to double City's lead when a miscued clearance fell to him after 70 minutes but the Slovak-born striker, so cool when he scored in the first half, snatched at his shot and skied the ball.
Blues midfielder Andrew Tutte, hurt earlier when he had a shot blocked just inside the Norwich area, had to give up his brave attempt to carry on and was replaced by Omar Elabdellaoui.
The substitute had hardly played himself in when his penalty-area tackle brought down Tom Adeyemi but as his Norwich team-mates celebrated, Nick Davey stepped up to blast his 79th-minute spot kick high over the bar.
Norwich's hopes of forcing extra time were ebbing away fast as Adeyemi almost snapped up an 85th-minute equaliser with a dangerous dipping effort from 25 yards that skimmed the roof of Clegg's net.