FA Cup Semi-Final
4/06/2019 5:30 pm
Referee: Anthony Taylor of Wythenshawe
|Manchester City||Brighton & Hove Albion|
|Gabriel Jesus (4')|
|31 Ederson||1 Matthew Ryan|
|2 Kyle Walker||Danilo 45'||22 Martin Montoya|
|30 Nicolas Otamendi||4 Shane Duffy|
|14 Aymeric Laporte||5 Lewis Dunk|
|22 Benjamin Mendy||Stones 79'||30 Bernardo|
|17 Kevin De Bruyne||Fernandinho 65'||11 Anthony Knockaert|
|8 Ilkay Gündogan||6 Dale Stephens|
|21 David Silva||24 Davy Pröpper|
|20 Bernardo Silva||16 Alireza Jahanbakhsh||Izquierdo 70'|
|33 Gabriel Jesus||8 Yves Bissouma||Locadia 82'|
|7 Raheem Sterling||17 Glenn Murray||Andone 66'|
|3 Danilo||2 Bruno|
|5 John Stones||3 Gaetan Bong|
|19 Leroy Sané||9 Jurgen Locadia|
|25 Fernandinho||10 Florin Andone|
|26 Riyad Mahrez||19 Jose Heriberto Izquierdo|
|47 Philip Foden||27 David Button|
|49 Aro Muric||33 Dan Burn|
Johnny On The Spot: #Alô mãe! 8 years on since the historic lifting of the FA Cup signalled the Manchester City resurgence, The Blues are in pole position to win the oldest competition, but boy, did Brighton make sure they earned it.
We’ll take it!
City got to the by line on either side of the Brighton defence within the first 2 minutes. Two minutes more and yet another trademark lightning start by Pep Guardiola’s men was richly rewarded with a superb goal expertly executed by Gabriel Jesus after a swashbuckling delivery by Kevin De Bruyne with another “King’s Cross.”
Almost immediately after taking the lead City dropped through the gears with one eye apparently on Tuesday’s Champions League Quarter Final assignment at Tottenham’s glitzy new pad. The rest of the first half was seen out comfortably enough without any real intent as City continued to waste a flurry of corners in what has become a recently disconcerting trend.
Brighton, perhaps unexpectedly, thoroughly enjoyed the opening period of the second half with their set-piece danger ever present and the English champions were rattled by it. Aymeric Laporte made a terrific goal line clearance as the pressure mounted on The Blues defence. The Seagulls made it clear that they had not come to the capital to make up the numbers. Frankly, as City proceeded with increasing unease, there was a yawning Fernandinho shaped gap in the centre of the park. Having hooked the overly edgy Walker, Pep opted to bring City’s midfield general into the fray, a game management specialist.
In the other technical area, fuelling City’s increasing nervous tension, Brighton boss Chris Hughton martialled his game side admirably despite constantly fending off the extraordinary sight of Anthony Knockaert, ludicrously awarded the sponsors Man of The Match having a pop at him throughout the contest. That said, the withdrawal of a combative Glenn Murray, so effective at bringing his teammates in, looked a backward step. However, the main men for the south coast operative were their two centre halves who put in lung bursting shifts.
Entering the final 20 minutes the semi-final rested firmly on a knife edge, both sets of fans engulfed by tension. The two keepers had by this stage rarely been tested. Pep was mithered enough to introduce John Stones, the Barnsley Beckenbauer, with the intention to further shore the game up. The vastly experienced City boss afforded Brighton great respect in the face of their defiant performance. Meanwhile, the Seagulls’ raucous support sensed an upset. Entering the final 10 minutes, City decided to try to raise their collective game sporadically, but Brighton countered and our own super support began to fall apprehensively silent at an uncharacteristically erratic City display.
Ultimately though, the Blues prevailed and made sure of a shot at securing phase two of an incredible effort for silverware on four fronts. Let’s be honest, this is a formidable quest and we cannot and will not hammer everyone if we are to achieve the unprecedented.
City will now remain in London for the next 3 days covering the period between the FA Cup Semi-Final and the latest European battle of Britain. The Blues will take a media hammering this weekend, but they can expect to see a very different high intensity City on Tuesday night.
JB’s Man of The Match: Aymeric Laporte. A cool as you like attritional display.