Premier League Stadium of Light Att:21644 Tuesday, September 22, 2015 6:45:00 PM
Aguero 9' (pen)
De Bruyne 25'
- Roger East
- Van Aanholt
- Rodwell Cattermole 46’
- Unused subs
- Pantilimon, Brown, Larsson, Gomez, Defoe, Fletcher
- Toure Evans 89’
- Navas Roberts 55’
- De Bruyne
- Aguero M Garcia 74’
- Unused subs
- Wright, Maffeo, Fernandinho, Barker
City roared back to form as they thrashed Sunderland 4-1 at the Stadium of Light to progress into the last 16 of the Capital One Cup.
The game was won in the opening period when the Blues scored four goals in the space of 27 minutes to render the second-half as little more than a relaxing stroll with the hosts playing for little more than pride.
In a match that was a re-run of this competition's final in 2014, City were looking to put back-to-back home defeats behind them against the Premier League's basement club.
Manuel Pellegrini elected to play his strongest starting XI available, despite being without several first-team regulars through injury.
With the bodies that remained, the starting XI virtually picked itself with the bench one of the most youthful in the Club’s history.
Sporting the new ‘Night Rising’ ghost green kit, City began as brightly as their shirts with Sergio Aguero firing in a couple of early efforts – presentable chances that Kun at his sharpest would normally gobble up
...Sunderland 1 City 4...
He didn’t have to wait too long to end a scoring drought (by his standards) that stretched back to the opening day of the season – Jesus Navas was too quick for his marker as he chased Yaya Toure’s pass and drew a challenge that resulted in the assistant referee flagging for a penalty. Aguero made no mistake and the Blues had the lead on nine minutes.
It was the start of a first-half that City ran riot in with the second goal coming ten minutes later. Raheem Sterling spotted Kevin De Bruyne’s overlap and played an inch-perfect pass into the box where the Belgian struck home a sweet left-foot drive past Vito Mannone.
The rout continued with the Blues cutting through the hosts’ defence at will – it became a matter of when rather than if the third goal would come before the break and the only surprise was it took another nine minutes to arrive.
Navas’ cross from the right was bungled out by Mannone but only as far as Sterling whose shot cannoned off the post and if of the luckless Sunderland keeper to put the tie beyond the Black Cats’ reach with just 33 minutes on the clock.
And it would get worse for a team who were being mercilessly ripped apart in front of their own fans and again, Sterling and De Bruyne combined to great effect with the former Wolfsburg midfielder threading the ball to Sterling who, having seen his last effort go down as an own goal, made no mistake as he curled a shot past Mannone to make it 4-0 with 36 minutes on the clock.
Though City will come up against much better defences this season, the understanding between Sterling and De Bruyne already looks like blossoming into something special even after just a few games
...Sunderland 1 City 4...
How the Blues didn’t go into half-time five to the good is something only Kun Aguero could answer as he chased through on Sterling’s superb ball, rounded Mannone and with the goal gaping, chose instead to walk the ball towards the net where one defender had retreated and was then tackled by another from behind.
As he left the pitch shaking his head a few moments later, it was clear he didn’t need anyone to tell him he perhaps should have scored!
It didn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things and the Blues continued to dominate after the re-start with Patrick Roberts given his debut just before the hour-mark.
There was less intensity to City’s play in the minutes that remained, with one eye on Saturday’s lunchtime clash with Spurs in mind, and Manu Garcia and George Evans also came on to make their debuts in the latter stages.
Another bonus was the excellent display by the returning Fernando who covered every blade of grass on the pitch in an impressive comeback by the Brazilian.
For the long-suffering home fans, there was at least the consolation of an 83rd-minute header from Toivonen to lift the gloom – but it did little to take the gloss off a commanding display from Pellegrini’s slick side who will go to White Hart Lane in confident mood after a sixth successive win on the road - a record run that began with a 1-0 win at Tottenham last May...