Manchester City qualified for the semi-finals of the EFL Cup after overcoming a strong fightback from Oxford United in the second half.
The defending champions opened the scoring with a deflected shot by Joao Cancelo in the 22nd minute, which was cancelled out 22 seconds into the second half when Matty Taylor struck back for the hosts.
Angelino and substitute Gabriel Jesus then laid on two tap-ins for their captain Raheem Sterling, which he converted to put City two goals clear. Despite that advantage City survived several scares in the final ten minutes as Oxford created a string of chances.
Karl Robinson’s team eliminated West Ham United 4-0 in the third round and bow out after an excellent run in the competition. Manchester City will now face Manchester United in the semi-finals in January.
Can Manchester City win a hat-trick of League Cup titles? The defending champions are closing in on a third consecutive EFL Cup victory, which would be their fifth in seven seasons. It’s a sustained period of domination not seen since in this competition since Liverpool were taking this cup back to Merseyside like a homing pigeon in the early eighties. Tonight was yet more proof that City’s deep resources can allow them to sustain this challenge along with several others.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Manchester City’s captain for the evening bagged his 17th and 18th goals of what is shaping up to be another excellent season. Both were tap-ins, laid on for him by perfect passes from his teammates that cut out the Oxford goalkeeper and his defenders. Had he not miscued when clean through on goal in the first half, he might have had a hat-trick.
Oxford United (4-3-3): Archer 6; Long 6, Dickie 7, Moore 6, Ruffels 5; Brannigan 7, Baptiste 7, Gorrin 6; Fosu 7, Taylor 7, Agyei 6. SUBS: Mousinho 6, Sykes 7, Mackie 6
Manchester City (4-3-3): Bravo 7; Cancelo 7, Garcia 6, Harwood-Bellis 5, Angelino 7; Rodrigo 6, Zinchenko 6, Foden 7; Bernardo 7, Mahrez 7, Sterling 8. SUBS: Gundogan 6, Jesus 7, Bernabe 6
18’ CHANCE! The first real danger for Oxford. Sterling picks out Mahrez on the right of the area, who fires a dangerous low cross into the six-yard box. From almost underneath his own bar Dickie clears the ball for a corner with Sterling lurking behind him.
22’ GOAL! Oxford United 0 Manchester City 1 (Cancelo 22) After Oxford's best period of the game, City score! A blistering series of first-time passes in their own half leads to Foden released Cancelo down the right. He charges into the area, and his shot deflects slightly off Moore and flies past Archer to give City the lead.
31’ WHAT A CHANCE! Bernardo slides a lovely pass inside Dickie that puts Sterling one on one with Archer. Sterling tries to sit the goalkeeper down and dink the ball into the net, but he doesn't catch it right and the ball clips the side-netting. Oxford are still in the tie, just.
46’ GOAL! Oxford United 1 (Taylor 46) Manchester City 1 What a start to the second half! A quick free-kick by Oxford releases Taylor in the inside right channel. He cuts across Harwood-Bellis and into the penalty area, before sending Bravo the wrong way and drilling a low shot into the bottom corner!
50’ GOAL! Oxford United 1 Manchester City 2 (Sterling 50) An instant and ruthless response! Angelino gets the ball out on the right wing, and fires in a perfect low cross to the back post. All Sterling has to do is walk onto it and prod it home from six yards, and City are back in the lead.
70’ GOAL! Oxford United 1 Manchester City 3 (Sterling 70) It's over, surely. City catch Oxford on the break. Bernardo chips a through ball to Jesus, who is in behind the Oxford defence. He takes it into the area and squares it to Sterling, giving the City captain his second tap-in and second goal of the night.
73’ OFF THE POST! Cancelo nearly has his second of the night. With Oxford tiring, he gets into space on the right of the penalty area and thunders a right-footed drive off Archer's near post and out.
82’ CHANCE! Dickie should have scored here. The corner picks him out perfectly and from 8 yards out he climbs above everyone but can only head the ball straight down and into the hands of Bravo.
83’ ANOTHER CHANCE! Oxford are bullying City's young centre-backs here. From a header in the box Mackie rolls Garcia but can only launch his shot over the bar from 7 yards when it looked like he was certain to score.
- Oxford had as many attempts on goal as Manchester City (18 each) and more on target (5 to City’s 4).
- Manchester City are unbeaten in the EFL Cup since a fourth round defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford in October 2016.