City knock Stoke out FA Cup

2013-01-26 16:49
Pablo Zabaleta (File)

Stoke - Manchester City reached the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday after Pablo Zabaleta's late goal gave them a 1-0 win in an attritional cup tie at bogey team Stoke City.

The English champions had not won at Stoke in six previous visits but they made an assured start and saw David Silva hit the post in the eighth minute after being invited to shoot by the home defence.

Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross had a goal ruled out for offside, while City received a blow shortly before half-time when captain and centre-back Vincent Kompany had to go off after rolling his ankle.

Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen saved bravely at Gareth Barry's feet in the 64th minute, while Peter Crouch headed a left-wing cross over the bar at the other end 10 minutes from full-time.

The tie looked set for a replay until Zabaleta started and finished a sweeping move in the 85th minute to send Roberto Mancini's men into round five.

The Argentine exchanged passes with a team-mate inside the City half and then cantered upfield to meet substitute Sergio Aguero's low cross with a deft outside-of-the-foot finish that nestled in the bottom-right corner.

"Today we were solid at the back, and up front we were very aggressive," said Zabaleta, an FA Cup winner with City in 2011.

"The Stoke crowd push the team a lot and we knew it was going to be difficult for us. We want to win the FA Cup again."

Second-tier Brighton and Hove Albion, third-round conquerors of Newcastle United, will go in search of another Premier League scalp later on Saturday when they welcome Arsenal to the Falmer Stadium.

Manchester United are in action in the evening kick-off, with top-flight rivals Fulham the visitors to Old Trafford.

Macclesfield Town and Luton Town of the fifth-tier Conference National will be bidding to emulate the exploits of fourth-division Bradford City, who overcame Aston Villa in mid-week to reach the League Cup final.

Both sides face Premier League opposition, with Macclesfield hosting Wigan Athletic and Luton visiting Norwich City.

The fourth round began with an upset on Friday, when Championship club Millwall deepened Villa's gloom with a 2-1 victory over Paul Lambert's side at The Den.

Read more on:    manchester city  |  stoke  |  fa cup  |  soccer

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