Manchester City moved forward with its FA Cup defense to dominate the fourth-round victory over Fulham. City became the first major European team to score 100 goals this season.
Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus missed their previous two penalties. But, Ilkay Gundogan avoided making it an unwanted hat-trick when he tucked the ball into the corner from the spot.
City started with Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne on the bench. The club made eight changes and took control as Bernardo Silva added a classy second from the edge of the box.
Jesus capitalized on poor Fulham’s defense and added two second-half headers.
Quest for cup continues for City
City is sixteen points behind League leaders Liverpool. Also, the club is 17 points clear of fifth placed Manchester United. Manchester City’s Premier League fate and next season’s Champions League spot seems all but certain.
The challenge now remains to Guardiola. The manager has to add all three remaining cup competitions to the Community Shield they won in August.
Nonetheless, the FA Cup and Carabao Cup holders are well placed to reach the final of the latter competition. They hold a 3-1 advantage over Manchester United with the second League of their semi-final to come this Wednesday.
Predictably, they made light work of Fulham to ensure they remain on course for another long run in the FA Cup as well.
Angelino, Mahrez and Foden could have made the scoreline embarrassing for the visitors in the first half. Their wastefulness might have been the one cause for concern for a perfectionist such as Guardiola.
Bernardo Silva’s excellent strike was much more like it though. He twisted and turned on the edge of the box before an unerring finish into the bottom corner.
Fulham were generous opponents who stuck with their approach of playing out from the back. This made it favorable for Jesus to head in after the visitors dallied too long and were dispossessed. Thereafter again, he nodded into an open net after keeper Marek Rodak could only parry Phil Foden’s powerful drive.
City has enjoyed favorable series of draw since the beginning of the 2017/18 in the FA Cup. But of course, there will be tougher tests to come. Before this time approaches, Guardiola will be grateful for the chance to rest many key players while advancing with such ease.