Mario Balotelli scores his 10th goal in 18 games as Manchester City progress with an easy 3-0 victory over Aston Villa.
Man City reach FA Cup quarter-finals after Villa win
City profited from Gerard Houllier’s surprise decision to make eight changes for the visitors and were in front after only four minutes through Yaya Toure.
Balotelli then finished off a sensational second before David Silva wrapped up the scoring 20 minutes from time to book a last-eight clash with Championship (English football’s second tier) outfit Reading at Eastlands on March 13.
Villa were unfortunate in the sense Patrick Vieira’s fourth-minute header struck Ciaran Clark after Aleksandar Kolarov had swung in a corner. The bounce fell perfectly for Toure, who duly smashed home from three yards.
Villa did rally, with Gabriel Agbonlahor going close, but suddenly the energy that appeared sapped from City legs at the weekend returned.
Balotelli’s superb reading of Toure’s through-ball allowed him to streak clear of the Villa defence after 25 minutes.
Confidence is not a problem for the former Inter Milan star either, judging by the nonchalant manner in which he lifted a shot into the roof of the net with Brad Friedel powerless to stop it.
It was the striker’s 10th goal in 18 eventful games for the Blues and Mancini must have felt fully vindicated in his decision to leave both Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko on the bench.
And when Clark made the fatal mistake of nodding Pablo Zabaleta’s cross into the Silva’s path the result, a blistering shot into the bottom corner, was entirely predictable.
Tevez thundered a shot into Friedel’s chest after Kolarov had fired wide from long-range, then the Argentina star was thwarted by the American once more as his fruitless hunt for a goal continued.