Kevin de Bruyne’s first half penalty kick and a superb strike by Raheem Sterling after the break earned holders Manchester City a comfortable 2-0 win away at Newcastle United on Sunday.
The win, in the weekend’s last FA Cup quarter-final, was the result of Manchester City’s domination.
The domination in the first half was absolute and the only surprise was it took a penalty kick for them to lead at halftime, with De Bruyne slotting home in the 37th minute.
Newcastle United did improve marginally after the break and substitute Dwight Gayle somehow missed a gaping goal.
One minute later, Sterling curled home a delightful effort to seal Manchester City’s progress and set up a semi-final against Arsenal.
It was incredible that all four of this year’s Cup quarter-finals, all played behind closed doors, were won by the away team — the first time that has happened since 1987.
Manchester United will face Chelsea in the other semi-final.
“We are in the semi-finals. It was not easy to attack against a team defending so deep, but it was a good performance. I am happy to go back to London, to Wembley,” Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola told reporters.
After their midweek defeat at Chelsea, a result that confirmed Liverpool as 2019/2020 English Premier League (EPL) champions, Guardiola’s side were fired up at an empty St James’ Park.
Twenty-five minutes into the tie, Newcastle United had completed only 15 passes and were camped inside their own penalty area as Manchester City toyed with them.
Riyad Mahrez wasted three chances for Manchester City and Sterling was twice denied by Newcastle United goalkeeper Karl Darlow.
Having somehow survived the Manchester City onslaught, Newcastle United then gifted them an opening goal when Fabian Schar needlessly shoved Gabriel Jesus and de Bruyne tucked away the penalty kick.
Newcastle United showed more intensity after the interval with striker Andy Carroll throwing his weight around.
But their absent fans watching at home on TV would have been groaning when Gayle somehow fired over the crossbar from Allan Saint-Maximin’s low cross.
That glaring miss looked even more costly a minute later when Sterling, who was inspired throughout, cut in from the left and picked out the bottom corner with a clinical finish.
Manchester City may have lost their English crown, but they have already bagged the League Cup and are still in the UEFA Champions League.
However, they could still end the most strange of seasons with three cups.