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.
It’s a true wonder that France were able to score enough any goals en route to winning the 2018 World Cup, given how defensively Didier Deschamps set up his team in Russia, and given how defensively Les Bleus continue to be deployed after conquering the world this summer.
Three defensive midfielders is a setup that few defense in the world require to protect them, let alone a unit which features the likes of Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti. But, there we were, and here we are. Deschamps went with the familiar formula in Thursday’s Nations League-opening game against Germany, and the result was a scoreless stalemate that saw the reigning world champions hold just 40 percent of possession and fail to produce a chance that truly threatened Manuel Neuer with anything more than speculative efforts from long range.
Real Madrid fans were understandably a bit fearful of life after Cristiano Ronaldo, but perhaps they shouldn’t be as the Portuguese superstar’s departure has apparently given way to the year of Gareth Bale. The Welsh dynamo already has three goals in as many games for Madrid, and on Thursday the 29-year-old ran the entire show during Wales’ 4-1 victory over Ireland.
He had a goal and an assist, but it could have been so much more with a bit more fortune in his favor. Still, Ryan Giggs‘ side was comprehensive in its dominance and should find their way to a first-place finish in League B – Group 4 (Denmark is the other nation in the three-team group). Tom Lawrence, Aaron Ramsey and Connor Roberts were the other goalscorers for the Dragons.
Czech Republic 1-2 Ukraine
Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko scored the 92nd-minute winner in Ukraine’s 2-1 victory away to the Czech Republic, completing a comeback from 1-0 down after just four minutes. Patrick Schick put the home side ahead early, but Yevhen Konoplyanka drew the visitors level immediately after the halftime intermission.
After a huge upturn in results following Carlos Carvalhal’s appointment in late December, the Swans are looking ahead to a relegation showdown at home against Southampton on Tuesday.
Speaking after the game, the energetic Portuguese coach is hopeful his team can get it done against Saints.
“There was one crucial moment of the game when they scored. After that we had two or three chances to score. The game was balanced and we created chances but we knew before the game that the first goal was important,” Carvalhal said. “After that goal, Bournemouth blocked the spaces and were more comfortable with chances to counter attack. We brought some players on to have an impact on the game and help the attack but there wasn’t much space. Bournemouth deserved the victory.”
“We tried to fight but we have two more games and a big opportunity on Tuesday. The game will start 0-0 and when everything is in your hands you must believe. If someone had said when I first took over that we would have it in our hands at this stage, I would’ve taken it.”
Young Swansea defender Connor Roberts added that “there is always confidence and belief we can stay in this division.”
The Swans aren’t in form and don’t have momentum at the right time of the season, but what they do have is two home games to finish with against Southampton and already relegated Stoke City.
Four points should secure their safety but at this time of the season that’s easier said than done.