A Sergio Aguero brace was the highlight of Manchester City’s comfortable 4-0 FA Cup fifth round victory over Leeds United at the Etihad Stadium, a win that will lift, at least temporarily, speculation about the future of manager Roberto Mancini.
With City 12 points behind League leaders Manchester United, the FA Cup remains Mancini’s most realistic hope of winning silverware this season and Aguero’s efforts, together with goals from Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez, carried his team through to the last eight with the minimum of fuss.
City wasted no time in taking out recent league frustrations on their Championship visitors and, even before their fifth minute opening goal, Leeds ’keeper Jamie Ashdown had been forced to race from his area to beat Aguero to an under-hit back-pass.
Neil Warnock’s players were still struggling to come to terms with the task in hand when Yaya Toure exchanged the ball with both David Silva and Tevez in a flurry of passes before advancing into the area and comfortably beating Ashdown. It was the start of a half of almost unrelenting City dominance.
Finally, after 14 minutes, Leeds succumbed to the inevitable after Lees was harshly judged to have pulled back Aguero on one of his trademark snaking runs into the area. The Argentinian international took the spot kick himself, calmly converting past Ashdown.
It took until the sixth minute of the second half for City to finally find the third goal that rendered any prospect of a Leeds fightback out of the question.
Aguero played a one-two with Silva before continuing a sprint towards the left-hand by-line from where his cross was met on the goal line by Tevez, who forced the ball into the open net.
It had long since been irrelevant to the outcome of the game, but Aguero finally added the fourth goal that City’s superiority merited after 73 minutes, following Silva’s well-timed pass picking out the Argentinian’s run beyond the Leeds defence.
Aguero did the rest with a confident finish past the advancing Ashdown.
Blues beat Brentford
Chelsea avoided becoming the latest victims of the FA Cup’s spate of giant-killings as the holders eased into the fifth round with a 4-0 win over League One side Brentford.
Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool are among a host of Premier League clubs to have been embarrassed by lower league opposition this season, but Chelsea overcame a slow start to their fourth round replay to eventually cruise through thanks to second half goals from Juan Mata, Oscar, Frank Lampard and John Terry at Stamford Bridge.