Bristol City 0-3 Man City: Fantastic Phil Foden helps seal FA Cup progression at Ashton Gate
An excellent Phil Foden performance helped Manchester City past Bristol City to make it into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
Foden opened the scoring with a powerful finish from close range in the seventh minute after patient play from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahez, with the latter firing a ball across the six-yard box, allowing the England star to fire home at the back post.
Still, where many teams even in the Premier League would have faltered, the Robins roared to make it a breathless opening 45 minutes. Alex Scott and Sam Bell, in particular, stood out as the home side looked to expose a high backline in front of a raucous home support.
Midfielder Scott has been linked with moves to the Premier League of late and, if this was his audition, he will certainly be given the role soon. The 19-year-old was excellent all evening, exerting the kind of fearlessness on the ball that would not look out of place in a Pep Guardiola team.
While Guardiola’s side limited their Championship opponents to few forays into their box, Mark Sykes was perhaps unlucky to have had a penalty claim so easily dismissed when colliding with Rico Lewis while bearing down on goal.
After the break, the anxiety a one-goal lead causes was obvious. The away side dominated the ball of course, though the hosts always looked dangerous on the break and would have levelled the scores had Andreas Weimann’s cross been played in-front of Bell, who could not direct it goalward from close range.
Still, just as Bristol City were growing, Man City struck. A delicious ball from De Bruyne freed Nathan Ake, who in turn played it across to Foden and his driven shot was deflected past goalkeeper Max O’Leary by Zak Wyner.
Minutes after that, De Bruyne fired in a brilliant third to wrap up the victory.
It has been a difficult few months for Foden, who has struggled since the World Cup. Clearly, there will be tougher tests to come but, after scoring two goals at Bournemouth on Saturday, the signs would at least suggest things are picking up.
With the Premier League and the Champions League still to play for, that is an ominous prospect.