Match Report

City's FA Cup run ended at semi-final stage by Liverpool

SAVE: Alisson denies Jesus.
FA Cup
FA Cup
Sat 16 Apr
Jack Grealish 

Bernardo Silva 

Ibrahima Konaté 
Sadio Mané 
(17', 45')
View highlights
Manchester City fell at the semi-final stage of the FA Cup for the third consecutive season after a 3-2 defeat to Liverpool at Wembley.

Liverpool were excellent in the opening period and established a commanding half-time lead thanks to Ibrahima Konate’s header and a double from Sadio Mane. 

City improved after the break and scored almost immediately after the restart through Jack Grealish - and Bernardo Silva tapped home in stoppage time to make it 3-2. 

But Liverpool held on during a frantic period of added time and they will face either Chelsea or Crystal Palace in this year’s showpiece final.

What happened 

After two very different midweek assignments in the UEFA Champions League, Liverpool looked far fresher in the opening 45 minutes - a period that saw them play some excellent football and score three times to overwhelm City. 

The opener saw Ibrahima Konate head home from Andrew Robertson’s corner kick, rising well above Nathan Ake to plant the ball past Zack Steffen.

Then came an error of judgement from Steffen, who spent too long deliberating where to play a pass before being tackled inside his own six-yard box by Sadio Mane to double their lead. 

And it was 3-0 before half-time when Mane volleyed home emphatically from inside the area after a fine passing move from Liverpool.

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City reduced the deficit immediately after the restart. Gabriel Jesus created it with some fine play down the right, before slipping the ball to Jack Grealish who finished first time.  

Jesus forced a fine save from Alisson when clean through on goal with 20 minutes remaining, before Mo Salah hit the sidenetting after a slip from Oleksandr Zinchenko at the back post.

Bernardo Silva made it 3-2 as the clock struck 90 minutes, setting up a tense four-minute period of added time, but Liverpool stood firm in the face of a City onslaught. 

It was a far better second-half display from Pep Guardiola's side, with our attitude and shape much improved, but the damage was done in the opening 45 minutes and it’s Liverpool who will contest the FA Cup final in the competition’s 150th year.

Gruelling period

This game was the culmination of a challenging two weeks that saw City play four huge matches across three competitions against two of Europe’s top clubs.

It started with a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the first leg of our Champions League quarter-final tie, before a sensational 2-2 draw with Liverpool at the Etihad, a result that saw us remain at the top of the Premier League table with seven games left to play. 

We then drew 0-0 in Madrid in a feisty second leg as we moved through the semi-finals, just three days before this testing game today at Wembley.

A gruelling run of fixtures like that is the price of success but it's incredibly difficult to manage. 

The key now is to rest and recover. And if there is one small benefit in losing this game, it’s that our Premier League fixture against West Ham will now remain as slated, rather than moving to the following midweek to accommodate the FA Cup final. 

Guardiola reaction 

"We gave everything after a tough first half.

"For the first goal, the set pieces they are very, very strong.

"The second was an accident. Difficult to come back but they did it perfectly in the second half."

What it means

City’s bid to win the FA Cup is over. 

Focus now is firmly fixed on winning the Premier League and Champions League, with a huge period of football still ahead of us. 

There are seven matches remaining in the Premier League and City are one point clear of Liverpool. There's little room for error, with every game carrying huge significance. 

Crucially, though, we are in the box seat. 

And we are through to the last four of the UEFA Champions League, where we will face 13-time winners Real Madrid. 

Plenty to play for yet. 

What’s next

It’s back to Premier League action for City on Wednesday as we host Brighton, a game that gets under way at 20:00 (UK).

That one is quickly followed by the visit of Watford next Saturday, which is a 15:00 (UK) kick off.

There will be full coverage of both those matches on the Man City app.

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