Bernardo Silva’s first-half brace fired an impressive City to a 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over Newcastle at the Etihad – and into a record-breaking sixth consecutive semi-final.

The FA Cup holders produced a hugely impressive all-round display against the Magpies with those two deflected Bernardo efforts no less than Pep Guardiola’s side deserved.

The Portuguese marvel struck first on 13 minutes with an effort that deflected over Magpies ‘keeper Martin Dubravka’s head and then followed suit on the half hour, his shot this time going in via Sven Botman’s head.

There could have been more such was City’s control and dominance.

But City deservedly secured what was a sixth consecutive FA Cup semi-final appearance - the first time an English club has achieved such a feat.

The victory also capped a superb sequence of results post December’s FIFA Club World Cup and sent us into the March international break still firmly in the hunt for three more trophies.

What happened

With a place in the semi-finals at stake and coming at the end of an intense, arduous set of fixtures since the advent of the New Year, there was already a keen sense of excitement and anticipation ahead of kick-off.

And the presence of several thousand travelling Newcastle fans from the North East only added to the sense of occasion at the Etihad.

The fast pace start mirrored the crackling atmosphere with both sides opening up at breakneck speed.

JUMPING FOR JOY: Bernardo celebrates after netting City's opener.
JUMPING FOR JOY: Bernardo celebrates after netting City's opener.

It was City though who soon settled into our dominant attacking rhythm and that early pressure was rewarded on 12 minutes when we made the all-important breakthrough via Bernardo Silva.

The Portuguese pocket marvel drove into the right side of the Magpies box before letting fly and his effort took a crucial deflection off Dan Burn and ballooned over Martin Dubravka and into the visitors’ net.

It almost got better for City with two minutes as another intricate sumptuous passing move ended with a deft Kovacic flick looking set to put in Erling Haaland only for Dubravka to intercept in the nick of time.

But a bright first half got even better on the half hour when that man Bernardo struck again – via another Newcastle deflection - to double his and City’s tally.

The Portuguese international drove in from the right side of the Magpies and let fly with a powerful shot that glanced in off Sven Botman’s head to give Dubrakva no chance.

Newcastle though still posed a threat with the likes Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon ensuring Guardiola’s backline needed to be alert and on guard.

SMILES BETTER: Bernardo and Jeremy Doku celebrate the City maestro's second goal.
SMILES BETTER: Bernardo and Jeremy Doku celebrate the City maestro's second goal.

And that was amply illustrated on 36 minutes when Ortega Moreno got down low to produce a stunning save to keep out Isak’s goal bound drive from eight yards out.

Phil Foden was one of several City players to really catch the eye and a superb piece of trickery from the England man on 38 minutes that saw him backheel past two bemused Newcastle defenders ended with him firing just over from the left edge of the area.

With City in free flow only a desperate block from Dubrakva prevented Jeremy Doku from extending the hosts’ lead on the strike of half-time after the Belgian had been pit clean through by a defence-splitting Manuel Akanji pass.

The Magpies ‘keeper was there again to deny Ruben Dias from the resulting corner as City maintained a steely iron grip on the visitors’ goal.

Dubravka was at it again straight after the restart, leaping to parry away a rasping Doku effort after more effortless brilliance from Foden had put the winger in.

And another magnificent free flowing move initiated by the impressive Mateo Kovacic on 53 minutes ended with Haaland curling a left footed shot just the wrong side of the post.

DRIVING FORCE: Erling Haaland takes the fight to Newcastle.
DRIVING FORCE: Erling Haaland takes the fight to Newcastle.

With the March rain starting to lash down as the second half wore on, some of earlier intensity understandably subsided but it was still City in control and dictating the tempo and tenor of play.

And we saw out time in professional style to set the seal on what was a another hugely impressive evening’s work.

Job done!


CITY XI: Ortega Moreno, Walker (C), Akanji, Dias, Gvardiol, Rodrigo, Kovacic, Bernardo, Foden, Doku (Bobb 76), Haaland (Alvarez 87)

Subs: Carson, Stones, Ake, Grealish, Gomez, Nunes, Lewis

NEWCASTLE: Dubravka, Botman (Krafth 83), Schar, Lascelles (c), Burn (Anderson 62), Guimaraes, Murphy, Willock (Hall 62), Longstaff (Miley 62), Isak, Gordon (Almiron 62)

Subs: Karius, Dummett, Ritchie, Targett.

THE BOSS: Pep reacts after City's second goal.
THE BOSS: Pep reacts after City's second goal.

Silva dream machine

Bernardo Silva has been a livewire bundle of Blue brilliance ever since joining City from Monaco back in 2017.

And tonight’s display, cemented by that first half brace, only added to his litany of Etihad career highlights.

Invariably when Bernardo plays well, he brings the best out of his City team mates and tonight was further proof – if any were needed – of what a special player he is.

A read slice of solid Silva!

Six of the best

Tonight’s victory saw City create another small slice of notable history.

Under Pep Guardiola’s inspired leadership, City had already made it through to the semi-finals for the past five seasons.

WING WIZARD: Jeremy Doku turns on the after burners.
WING WIZARD: Jeremy Doku turns on the after burners.

And tonight’s win which saw us progress through to the last four once again, meant City have become the first side in history to reach six consecutive FA Cup semi-finals.

It’s another incredible statistic that only bears further testament to the consistency and all-round excellence that have been the hallmark and bedrock of Guardiola’s remarkable City tenure.

Main man

Phil Foden was awarded the man of the match honours after another superb all-round display.

The England man was a thorn in Newcastle’s side all evening long and continues to go from strength to strength for City.

Few would doubt that he is enjoying the best season of his illustrious City career to date.

What it means

City are through to a sixth successive FA Cup semi-final.

We now await Sunday’s draw which will follow the quarter-final between Manchester United and Liverpool.

Coventry City are also through to the last four with Chelsea taking on Leicester in Sunday’s other last eight tie.

The semi-finals will be played at Wembley on the weekend of April 20 and 21.

TAKE THAT: Phil Foden tries his luck from outside the box.
TAKE THAT: Phil Foden tries his luck from outside the box.

Pep’s reaction

“It sounds really good. I know we play to win the finals, but to win it, you have to win the earlier rounds. We won four Carabao Cup finals in a row and now we’re in six FA Cup semi-finals in a row. To run and play the way they did is incredible, congratulations to the team, no one has done that before.

“We played really well, we were so sfae with the ball. Mateo, Rodri and Bernardo kept the ball so well. The game was really good.

“You see us when we come back every three days, three days, three days, three days, we need Kevin, Jack and Erling to come back in the best possible conditions.”

PHIL FODEN reaction

“I thought we controlled the game really well. We had a lot of the ball and tried to find the right moment to attack, and I think we did that really well.

“We were always talking about [winning more trophies]. The hunger’s still there. We’ll keep going.

“It’s one of the best squads I’ve ever seen. At this stage of the season we’re going to need everyone.”

What’s next

City now have a fortnight’s break with the March international break taking centre stage.

We are next in action on Sunday, March 31 when we play host to Arsenal in what will be a crucial Premier League encounter.

Kick off at the Etihad on what will be Easter Sunday is pencilled in for 16.30pm (UK).

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