FA Cup: De Bruyne returns from injury to help Manchester City win the FA Cup.

FA Cup: Man City defeats Huddersfield 5-0

FA Cup
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne (left) came off the bench to offer an assist, while Phil Foden (centre) scored twice against Huddersfield. Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters


For Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, it was merely a formality.

If other Premier League teams struggled in the third round of the FA Cup, having to come from behind against lower-tier opponents, City made the most of their home advantage, winning the game against Huddersfield in the first half.

De Bruyne joined the break as Mateo Kovacic lofted the ball upfield to Matheus Nunes. The Portuguese chested down and passed right to Oscar Bobb, who unloaded and beat Lee Nicholls via a ricochet off Ben Jackson, with De Bruyne avidly following up but not required.

That was 3-0 and the tie was over, with De Bruyne joined by Jérémy Doku, whose last action before a muscle problem was in the 3-3 draw with Spurs on 3 December. Each ending unscathed – Doku completed the scoring – is great news for City but bad news for their opponents, with Saturday’s trip to Newcastle up next.

Huddersfield had come a spot and three points above the Championship drop zone, seeking to outperform a City team that had gone unbeaten in their previous seven games. Guardiola’s players, as is almost often the case, took possession of the ball, established a base camp in the opposing team’s territory, and charted a path to goal from there. A Julián lvarez shot into Nicholls’ midrift was one direct path, as were the corners they created.

The ball arrived on the opposite side after being taken short by Phil Foden on the left, Bobb was pilfered, and Town’s rapid break was blocked. The next contribution from the young Norwegian was a cut infield from his right wing before an effort. Manuel Akanji had previously been knocked down by a scything Alex Matos attack, and the defender was replaced by Nunes.

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A midfielder for a defender caused a reshuffle that saw Rico Lewis move to right-back and Nunes move into the centre. City needed to add force to ventures that were too sideways at this point, so Foden did, swooping in and letting fly, Sergio Gómez doing the same when, suddenly, the left-back plundered in behind, firing in a cross that the Terriers just about scrambled away from.

The Belgian, who was wearing the captain’s armband, had not played since the opening day of the Premier League season in August. On his return to the pitch, he received a standing ovation.

The goals began to come in. Ben Jackson scored after Bobb’s effort was deflected in, Phil Foden scored twice, and Doku rounded out the sweep with a 5-0 score. The reigning champions, Pep’s club, are presently in the fourth round.

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