Reigning FA Cup champions, Manchester City, hosted Championship strugglers, Huddersfield Town, at the Etihad Stadium in a third round tie that Cityzens expected a routine win from.
MCI: Ortega; Akanji, Dias, Gvardiol, Gomez; Lewis, Kovacic; Bobb, Foden, Grealish; Alvarez
HUD: Nicholls; Spencer, Edmonds-Green, Helik, Lees, Jackson; Wiles, Matos, Rudoni, Koroma; Thomas
City had never lost an FA Cup match against Huddersfield, nor had they lost in their last 11 FA Cup home matches – scoring 47 goals and conceding four.
But it was a bright start from the Championship side, with some early pressure that saw Sorba Thomas drive down the right wing, whipping in a cross that City were able to clear. Within four minutes though, City became comfortable on the ball, as expected, with their first shot seeing Alvarez’s curling effort from the edge of the area caught easily by Nicholls in net for the Terriers.
On the ten minute mark, Stefan Ortega was forced to save Sorba Thomas’ effort after he had found himself one-on-one with the keeper, but eventually the flag did go up for offside.
The first yellow card was shown to Alex Matos after wiping out Manuel Akanji with the Swiss defender having to be substituted at 17 minutes – Matheus Nunes coming on in his place – despite trying to play on after the challenge.
A cross from Sergio Gomez found Alvarez in the box at the near box, but was cleared by Jack Rudoni, going behind for a City corner that was punched away by Nicholls.
It was going as well as the visitors could have hoped as they made it through to the half hour mark unscathed, despite City holding 80% possession.
Foden tried his luck from outside the box at 30 minutes but Nicholls was able to comfortably collect, before the breakthrough City had patiently been building towards came in the 32nd minute.
Julian Alvarez crossed the ball with pace to Phil Foden who shot from an acute angle at the near post to break the deadlock and score his 70th goal in City colours.Embed from Getty Images
City continued to increase the pace and pressure, forcing Huddersfield to defend vigorously and as more gaps opened in the Terriers defence, the reigning champions did more damage with the advantage doubled in the 35th minute.
Superb link-up play between Nunes and Foden down the right allowed City youngster, Rico Lewis, to take a hit at goal. His effort was blocked but Alvarez reacted quickly, getting the touch on the ball to send it over the goal line.
With seven minutes of stoppage time added on for the injuries to Akanji and Gomez in the first half, City looked controlling with the intent of scoring, the two-goal lead reflecting this at half-time.
In the 46th minute, Oscar Bobb peeled away from Huddersfield defenders, showing his skill as he weaved into the box but after taking too long to tee up his shot, Edmonds-Green had time to get back and make the block.
There was another chance for the 20-year-old in the 52nd minute as Lewis played the ball to the forward running into the box who cut inside on his left, his effort going just wide.
KDB made his return to the pitch in the 56th minute having not featured for City since tearing his hamstring in their season opener against Burnley on 11 August, alongside Jeremy Doku.
With just over half an hour to play, Oscar Bobb got the goal he’d been searching for. Matheus Nunes offloaded the ball to the Norwegian youngster on the edge of the box who tried to chip it for Kevin De Bruyne, but deflected into the net.Embed from Getty Images
Thomas made it through one-on-one with Ortega Moreno in the 59th minute after shrugging off Ruben Dias, but the German keeper stood strong to deny the Terriers a route back into the game.
Only six minutes after City’s lead was extended to three, Phil Foden scored his second of the day. Kevin De Bruyne to Sergio Gomez to Mateo Kovacic, it was an incredible build-up that lead to Foden firing home a low strike with such power and precision into the bottom left corner that left Nicholls no chance.
Huddersfield looked increasingly tired as the final 20 minutes were played, but City didn’t look ready to stop just yet.
In the 74th minute, Jeremy Doku marked his return from injury with a goal, with Kevin De Bruyne getting the assist.Embed from Getty Images
The Belgian international chipped the ball from the right flank to an unmarked Doku who drilled home the half volley with no hesitation, netting City’s fifth.
Mateo Kovacic and Phil Foden made way for Micah Hamilton and Jacob Wright who made his senior debut in the FA Cup third round clash.
The chances kept coming for City with Hamilton having an immediate impact from the bench, firing a teasing cross in that just missed Oscar Bobb, followed by Doku just overhitting a cross in the 79th minute.
There were appeals for a penalty in the 82nd minute as Oscar Bobb tried to reach Hamilton’s through ball, but the on-field decision was no penalty.
Man of the match was awarded to Phil Foden as the full-time whistle was blown with City securing their spot in the fourth round of the cup after an impressive performance consisting of 84% possession, five goals, a clean sheet and a Jacob Wright debut.