x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Carlos Tevez scores his 50th Manchester City goal

Such is the speed at which Carlos Tevez plays, it was no surprise that the Argentine was in a hurry as he reached a personal landmark in the FA Cup.

Carlos Tevez, centre, takes the ball past the Notts County keeper to score Manchester City's third goal yesterday. Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images
Carlos Tevez, centre, takes the ball past the Notts County keeper to score Manchester City's third goal yesterday. Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images

MANCHESTER // The sort of era-defining achievements Manchester City covet cannot be accomplished until the end of a season.

But milestones can be passed along the way and, such is the speed at which Carlos Tevez plays, it was no surprise that the Argentine was in a hurry as he reached a personal landmark.

Eighteen months as a City player have already brought a half-century of goals and the 50th was trademark Tevez in the head-down burst forward, the single-minded determination and the adept finish. A half-hour cameo also contained an assist and a reminder of his hunger to score, whoever the opposition and whatever the occasion.

Patrick Vieira's fourth and fifth strikes in City colours had more bearing on the result, but Tevez has a propensity to hijack proceedings and Roberto Mancini is wearily accustomed to praising his captain.

"Every time we talk about Carlos but he is a fantastic player," the City manager said.

First professional, then purring with class, his side married pragmatism with panache as they progressed to the FA Cup fifth round.

A 5-0 scoreline contained a cruelty for Notts County, but the reality is that the margin of victory mattered less to City than the basic fact that they went through.

With four of the Premier League's top seven failing to reach the last 16, City's enduring presence in the competition is auspicious indeed.

Their immediate reward is a home game against Aston Villa on March 2; win that and a quarter-final against Everton or Reading awaits. Wembley is already visible on the horizon although, given City's 42-year wait to win this competition, it is understandable that they are not getting carried away.

"We never win against Everton," Mancini said. There is a blend of technical talent and physical force in this City side, epitomised by their opening goal.

David Silva is the resident magician, equipped with a wand of a left foot, Vieira the proven powerhouse. And when the Spaniard curled in a corner, the Frenchman headed it in, albeit via the hands of County defender Krystian Pearce.

Vieira's aerial expertise enabled him to complete a double, heading in a corner from the opposite flank, delivered by Aleksandar Kolarov. It was a curiosity of a goal, Mario Balotelli colliding with Pearce at the same time, leading to the dazed Italian's departure and Tevez's introduction.

He was the catalyst for the late onslaught. City's slickest move of the match culminated in Edin Dzeko guided a pass perfectly through the County defence for Tevez to charge past goalkeeper Stuart Nelson and finish from an acute angle.

The compliment was returned when Tevez centred for Dzeko, scorer of the equaliser in the first match, to head in his second for the club. Thereafter, when a corner wasn't cleared, Micah Richards hooked in the fifth with a relish that summed up his side.

And yet Paul Ince, the County manager, was not being overly partisan when he said: " I'm very proud of the players, I thought they were awesome. With a little bit of luck, we would have been in front."

Indeed, his side were inches away from leading when Karl Hawley's long-range shot went, via Joe Hart's fingertips, on to the far post, back across goal and somehow stayed out.

The effort was Tevez-like in everything except one aspect: it did not go in.

sports@thenational.ae