MANCHESTER: Gabriel Jesus scored four as defending champions Manchester City destroyed League One (third tier) Burton Albion 9-0 in their League Cup semi-final first leg to all but formally book their place in the final.
Burton, managed by Nigel Clough, the son of former Nottingham Forest manager Brian, must endure another 90 minutes at their own ground on Jan. 23.
“We didn’t expect anything less given the gulf in class between the teams, we actually feared it could be more,” said Clough, a two-time League Cup winner as a player under his father at Forest.
“We’ve made history with the club getting to the last four of a Cup competition. Once we saw the three teams (in the semi-finals) it was always going to be trouble.”
City are set to face the winners of the other semi-final between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, which Spurs lead 1-0 from the first-leg.
City manager Pep Guardiola fielded a strong starting line-up and his side quickly established their dominance with Kevin De Bruyne steering in a header from an excellent lofted ball from David Silva to open the scoring in the fifth minute.
It was 4-0 by halftime after two goals from Jesus and a long-range lob from Oleksandr Zinchenko and City showed no mercy after the break. Jesus added two more and substitute Phil Foden, Kyle Walker and Riyad Mahrez also found the net.
The result was the largest ever margin of defeat in the semi-final of the competition.
“Of course we are already in the final. We have to play second leg and we will take it seriously. Happy to be in the final again,” said City boss Pep Guardiola.
“It’s not easy to play this kind of game. We spoke (before the game) to take it seriously, we started well.”
Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019