Manchester City 2-0 Newcastle

Edwin  - CEO March 16, 2024
Updated 2024/03/16 at 8:57 PM
8 Min Read
Bernardo Silva scored twice in first-half as Man City eased into the semi-finals of the FA Cup/Mail Online
Bernardo Silva scored twice in first-half as Man City eased into the semi-finals of the FA Cup/Mail Online

Bernardo Silva scores twice in first-half with deflected efforts as Pep Guardiola’s Treble-chasers ease into FA Cup semi-finals



After Anfield’s turmoil and chaos last weekend, this was the return of the Manchester City we know, Ian Ladyman reports for Mail Online.


Ordered, purposeful, reliable, and utterly in control, Pep Guardiola’s team is in yet another domestic cup semi-final, and nobody will be surprised.


Admittedly, the opposition is battered, bruised, and going backward. So soon after last season’s highs, Newcastle is heading in the wrong direction at an alarmingly and increasingly predictable rate.


Eddie Howe’s team put in a lot of effort, but the truth is they were never in this game. The city was impressively relentless throughout, and they have now progressed to six FA Cup semi-finals in a row says everything about them. No team has ever done that before.


The two goals that decided it both came in the first half from City’s Portuguese wonder Bernardo Silva. The 29-year-old is in his seventh season at the Etihad Stadium now, and during that time, his levels have rarely dropped for long. He is the embodiment of this remorseless team in so many ways.


Both goals were deflected. The first is off the back of Dan Burn’s thigh, and the second is from Sven Botman’s forehead.


The first contact was entirely understandable. Burn was trying to get in the way as any conscientious defender should.


The second was a little different. Botman didn’t need to head Silva’s shot, as his goalkeeper would have saved it. But for some reason, he did, so Martin Dubravka didn’t.


But this was not about individual blame for Newcastle, just as City’s victory was not one determined by one brilliant player. This was about the collective on both sides of the equation.


It’s easy to feel sorry for Newcastle. They are honest people who have been around the block too often.


The worry for them and their manager is that it’s only mid-March, and there is still a lot of football to play in the Premier League.


They are tenth, and the team below them, Chelsea, has a game in hand.


At least it didn’t get ugly for them, though. It looked as it may do at one stage. But City threatened only sporadically as the game wore on in the rain.


City’s domestic cup record under Guardiola is exemplary. For all that some of the Premier League’s big clubs purport to disregard the competition, it has never been the way on Guardiola’s watch here.


It was no surprise to see the strength of the team the City manager chose and the purpose and intent of their football. They could play through the Newcastle midfield a little easier than they imagined. Once they found themselves with green grass ahead of them, Silva, Phil Foden, and Jeremy Doku were dangerous throughout.


Newcastle were perhaps as we expected them, particularly in the first half.


You never detect a lack of effort in Howe’s players, but equally, they have recently been a team functioning at quite some level beneath capacity.


Newcastle, still carrying injuries and fielding players who are not fully fit, were game but limited, and that isn’t what we expected of them this season after what they managed to achieve last time round.


Both first-half goals were deflected, so there was some misfortune attached to a deficit that stood at two goals at halftime. At the same time, possession and territory statistics rarely lie, and they aren’t here. City was superior in every department, including the ones that really mattered.


Newcastle were competitive for the first ten minutes but were already forced to do too much running without the ball. And when the City midfield shifted the ball left to right across the pitch and into Silva’s possession, the home team was in business. Burn endeavored to hold his ground but looked anxious about making a tackle inside the penalty area. So when Silva eventually released his shot, the ball struck the back of Burn’s extended thigh and looped painfully over goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and into the far corner.


The celebrations at the Etihad were enthusiastic enough but hardly wild. They expected this. Still, the home team didn’t cut loose. Doku was more of a threat than he had been for a while, and Erling Haaland almost blundered through, only for Dubravka to come out and smother. And then, in the 31st minute, Newcastle committed a second act of self-harm in just over a quarter of an hour.


Once again, Silva shot from the far side of the penalty area. Dubravka would have saved it this time, but Botman’s decision to head the ball toward his own goal was instinctive but still inexplicable. Once the ball had been diverted back toward the center of the goal, Dubravka didn’t have a chance.



Suddenly, it all looked a bit dicey for Newcastle. Another goal between now and half-time would have been damage limitation time.


The city threatened again. Doku and Phil Foden were close, while Ruben Dias saw a header saved. However, there was one flicker from the Newcastle attack: Alexander Isak delivered a powerful low volley from 12 yards that City’s reserve goalkeeper Stefan Ortega did very well to repel with a low left hand.


Newcastle’s prospects didn’t significantly improve in the second half. Howe introduced four substitutes with 25 minutes left—one of them Miguel Almiron—which gave them a little more forward thrust in what became quite a stretched game of football. Within a few minutes, one pass from Almiron played Isak in, only for the Swede to stand on the ball. That summed up Newcastle’s day.


At the other end, City remained hungry and eager, and nobody was more hungry than Haaland, who was starting to look like a likely scorer. The Norwegian had been shackled by Virgil van Dijk at Anfield last Sunday, but here he was, beginning to find pockets of space. One shot flew wide, while another cannoned into a defender. Doku, meanwhile, worked Dubravka with a shot across the goal that the ‘keeper was forced to touch past the post.


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