Sergio Aguero scored in the 88th minute to complete a three-goal comeback as Manchester City tops Swansea City 3-2 in FA Cup action on Saturday.
20 minutes in, the Swans stunned the Premier League leaders by scoring twice in the opening half-hour to take an early 2-0 lead. Fabian Delph scythed down Connor Roberts in the box and Matt Grimes buried an emphatic penalty to take the lead and set the Liberty Stadium alight.
Nine minuets later, the Swans doubled the lead with an absolutely stunning buildup that made the home side look more like the visitors. As Swansea produced a glittering counter, Daniel James cut inside from the left flank and fed Nathan Dyer who touched to Bersant Celina to finished fabulously with a curler.
Celina, a Kosovo international and former Man City youth product, scored in his third straight FA Cup game and Swansea secured a 2-0 lead into halftime.
The visitors needed a bit of luck to find their way back in, and they got that with 21 minutes to go as the ball took a few Man City bounces in the box and it fell to Aguero who found Bernardo Silva for the opener. United States international Cameron Carter-Vickers was then called for a foul on Raheem Sterling with 15 minutes to go, and it put Aguero at the spot.
While the Argentine’s penalty struck the left post and bounded parallel to the goal mouth, it deflected off goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt‘s leg and found its way in to level the score.
Then, the controversy. In the 88th minute, Aguero bagged the winning strike as he redirected Bernardo Silva’s cross into the back of the net with his head, having beat Carter-Vickers to the ball. Replays, however, showed that Aguero was clearly leaning offside on the delivery.
The play was not reviewed, as while VAR is made available at some of the FA Cup matches as the English governing body continues to slowly roll out the new technology, this match was not one of those, leaving the referees exposed to their own mistakes. Nevertheless, Manchester City is moving on to the FA Cup semifinals, while Swansea will refocus on the Championship where they sit 15th in the table.
Graham Potter’s Swansea are sitting in midtable in the second-tier and after severe financial cutbacks following their relegation from the Premier League last season, and nobody gave them a chance against all-conquering Man City on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola looked stunned on the sidelines as Swansea went 1-0 up after Fabian Delph gave away a penalty kick, and Bersant Celina (a former Man City player) then scored a stunner after a wonderful flowing move from back to front.
Swansea basically beat Man City at their own game, as they surged forward and linked several passes together before Celine curled home a beauty to make it 2-0.
Take a look at that fantastic second goal from Swansea below, as Potter’s men conjured up a moment of magic (Harry Potter fans out there, I hope you enjoyed that…).
My goodness. What a goal from former Man City player Celina to put second-tier Swansea City 2-0 up in the #FACup quarterfinal. Quite a few passes from Swansea before this clip started too. #Swans 2-0 #MCFCpic.twitter.com/Q6DWOuP8H8
Palace travelled to third-tier Doncaster Rovers and two first half goals steered Roy Hodgson‘s men into the last eight. As for Swansea City, they trailed Brentford at half time but four goals from the Swans and a red card for the Bees swung the games in the favor of the Welsh side.
Swansea are one of just two teams from outside the Premier League to be in the last eight.
Below are the details from Sunday’s final two FA Cup fifth round games, as the two teams join Wolves, Manchester City, Brighton, Watford and Millwall in the hat for the last eight draw.
The final team in the last eight will be either Chelsea or Manchester United, who play at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
Doncaster 0-2 Crystal Palace
Jeffrey Schlupp gave Palace the lead with a fine individual effort as he was played in after a wonderful interception from Luka Milivojevic. Schlupp’s shot across goal took a slight deflection and flew into the far bottom corner to make it 1-0.
Brentford ended the game with 10 men as James was then cynically brought down by Ezri Konsa and shown a red card.
Celina then made it 3-1 after a lovely run, and the excellent James and Celina combined to set up George Byers to make it 4-1 in stoppage time to cap off a brilliant day for Graham Potter and his Swans.
They will cruise to the title again because…They have the best squad in the Premier League by a distance and the best manager in world soccer. Do I need to go on? Their record-breaking 100 points last season showcased just how dominant they can be and it would be a brave man who bets against City winning back-to-back league titles.
Yet they could become their own worst enemies once again, yet still finish second… One of the major problems City had last season (they had zero “major” problems, but you get what I mean) was finishing off teams who sat back and defended deep. In a run of games against Huddersfield, West Ham and Southampton they won late on but struggled to break down stubborn defenses. Leaving themselves open to counter attacks could be an issue for City, but it’s unlikely they’ll finish outside the top two anyway. Another issue: playing against the high-press of Liverpool and teams who are brave (or stupid) enough to implement those tactics.
Ranking their offseason: 8/10 – With so many World Cup stars not around for preseason (Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Raheem Sterling and John Stones to name a few…) Pep Guardiola was able to give plenty of minutes to Man City’s impressive crop of youngsters during their U.S. tour. They impressed, with the likes of Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz looking solid and several showing they can be called upon this season. Perhaps that is why City have only made one signing heading into the final days of the window.
Star player: Kevin de Bruyne – Closely followed by David Silva, KDB is influential to the way City press to win the ball back and then have so much quality to hurt opponents when they have possession. The Belgian wizard had a very good World Cup but will be eager to prove he is undoubtedly the best player in the PL after losing out on the Player of the Year awards to Mohamed Salah in 2017/18. His driving runs, incisive passes and hammered shots from central areas are near on impossible to stop given all of the quality attackers swirling around him each weekend.
Coaches’ Corner: Guardiola delivered the PL title in record breaking fashion and signed a new extended deal at City to celebrate over the summer. That said, the Spaniard is never happy and he will be eager to make sure his squad doesn’t become complacent. City didn’t retain their title on their previous two occasions they’ve been crowned champions of the Premier League and Guardiola may have to tweak a few things, especially when it comes to not leaving themselves exposed defensively, as they go all-out for goals and victories each week.
PST predicts: This is Man City’s title to lose. It really is. Their incredible strength in-depth means that despite several stars only returning to preseason training a few days before the season starts, they can bed themselves into the league season easily without City missing a beat. Expect them to be challenging for every trophy going, once again, and even the distraction of a deep UEFA Champions League run shouldn’t stop them from running away with the PL title for a second-straight season.