Alvaro Negredo struck a sensational hat-trick as Manchester City all-but booked a place at Wembley with a thumping 6-0 win over beleaguered West Ham in the first-leg of their LeagueCup semi-final at the Etihad.
The Spanish striker was in irrepressible form as he took advantage of some woeful Hammers defending to volley home Yaya Toure's long pass on 12 minutes.
It was the finish of a man bang in form and he doubled the lead soon after, racing onto Edin Dzeko's clever reverse pass to lash a stunning finish into the roof of the net.
West Ham, fresh from their FA Cup nightmare at Nottingham Forest, offered very little as an attacking force, and they were undone again five minutes before the interval.
Another mix-up on the half way line allowed Toure to drive all the way to the edge of visitors' box unchallenged and drill a low shot into the far corner.
Negredo was the shining light in another mesmerising City display on home turf, and he secured the match ball four minutes after the restart when he arrowed a first-time shot into the far corner after David Silva's cross deflected into his path.
Dzeko then continued his record of scoring in every round of the competition on the hour before sealing a record success over the Hammers with another cracker in the final minute.
PRE-MATCH: Quartet return for City, big changes for Hammers - Manuel Pellegrini recalls Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Yaya Toure and David Silva as he opts for an attack-minded line-up. West Ham field a more established team from the one demolished at Nottingham Forest. Big Sam makes eight changes with on-loan Wolves defender, Roger Johnson making his bow.
12' - GOAL: Man City 1-0 West Ham. Toure clips a 50-yard ball over the top for Negredo who watches it all the way before firing a sensational volley into the corner. 1-0 to City.
23' GREAT SAVES! Adrian pulls off a couple of superb saves to deny both Silva and Nasri from distance.
26' GOAL! Man City 2-0 West Ham. Negredo thumps it high into the roof of the net after a sublime turn and pass from Dzeko sent him clear. It's a long night ahead for the Hammers.
40' GOAL! Man City 3-0 West Ham. City are running away with this. Toure picks up the ball in the centre circle and then drives towards goal before firing a low shot beyond the keeper from just inside the area. There was no Hammers challenge in sight.
49' GOAL! HAT-TRICK! Negredo crashes a stunning first-time finish into the far corner after Silva's low cross deflected into his path. 4-0 to City.
60 ' GOAL! Man City 5-0 West Ham. Another flowing move sees Clichy fizz a low ball to the near post for Dzeko to sweep home on the run. That's 11 for the season for the hitman.
90' GOAL! Man City 6-0 West Ham. City fans can start planning for Wembley. Another incisive move down the left ends with Dzeko searing an unstoppable first-time shot into the top corner.
TALKING POINT: The pressure mounts on Big Sam. Despite public backing from West Ham's owners, another heavy defeat will have done very little for morale within the confines of Upton Park. Saturday's Premier League clash with Cardiff has taken on even more significance, and if they are dismantled in a similar fashion in Wales, you have to wonder how much more punishment Allardyce can take.
Man City have won six and lost none of their last eight meetings with West Ham in all competitions.
It is City's first clean sheet in eight League Cup semi-final first legs.
City have scored an incredible 59 goals in 15 matches at the Etihad this season.
West Ham have conceded two or more goals in each of their last six matches in all competitions.
West Ham have conceded 5+ goals in consecutive matches for the first time since October 2001.
Manchester City are on the threshold of reaching their first League Cup final in 38 years. In 1976, no player in the current squad had been born.
(Stats courtesy of Opta Joe and Infostrada Sports)
MAN OF THE MATCH
Alvaro Negredo. (Man City): The Spaniard produced a masterclass in finishing to all-but fire his side to Wembley. He's having a sensational first season in English football.
MAN CITY: Pantilimon 6, Zabaleta 8, Kompany 8, Lescott 8, Clichy 8, Nasri 8, Toure 8, Garcia 7, Silva 8, Negredo 9, Dzeko 8. Subs: Demichelis 6, Kolarov 6, Lopes 6.
WEST HAM: Adrian 7, McCartney 5, Johnson 5, Taylor 5, Noble 5, O'Brien 5, Demel 5, Diame 6, Downing 5, J.Cole 5, Maiga 4. Subs: Cole.C 5, Diarra 5, Rat 5.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester City
- Alvaro Negredo
- Yaya Toure
- Edin Dzeko
- David Silva