Millers bow out of FA Cup to rampant City.....
MANCHESTER City oozed their Premier League class as they brushed aside the Millers challenge – with a comfortable victory over Paul Warne’s side, in their Emirates FA Cup third round clash.
In front of a healthy crowd at the Eithad Stadium, Pep Guardiola’s side raced into an early lead thanks to Raheem Sterling and despite a gutsy first-half display from the Millers, the hosts added further goals prior to the interval through Phil Foden and Semi Ajayi’s own goal.
The home side, who fielded a side jam-packed with full internationals, kept their foot on the gas in the second half and they rubbed salt into Millers wounds with Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Nicolas Otamendi and sub Leroy Sane among the second-half scorers.
Following their hard-fought victory over Preston North End, last time out, Warne made three changes to his starting line-up for the trip to the Premier League champions.
Zak Vyner returned to the right-back slot while Clark Robertson was handed a starting berth in the centre of the defensive rearguard alongside Semi Ajayi.
Anthony Forde was rewarded for his substitute cameo against the Lilywhites with a recall while Ryan Williams was asked to play behind lone frontman Michael Smith.
The hosts had the first sight of goal when Mahrez’s slide-rule pass saw Kevin De Bruyne get on the wrong side of his marker to drill a cross which was hacked away by Clark Robertson but De Bruyne picked up the resultant throw-in to float another tantalising cross which was inch-perfect for Jesus, who headed against the crossbar from point-blank range.
The Millers had another let-off when Kyle Walker’s defensive splitting pass put Sterling in the clear but Ajayi came out of nowhere with a superb sliding challenge to deny the England international, as he looked to shoot – with the ball flashing wide of the visitors’ goal.
Minutes later, John Stones clipped a ball which split open the Rotherham defence and Mahrez got the ball under his spell to fire a low cross which Jesus failed to convert, from just yards out – with a retreating Rotherham defender scrambling the ball clear before the former Leicester winger worked a yard of space on Jon Taylor to fire a wicked cross-cum-shot which Rodak was forced to parry clear.
The Millers goal was leading a charmed life and it was no surprise when the home side broke the deadlock on 12 minutes when De Bruyne injected pace into a City move before playing a perfectly-weighted pass into the path of Sterling, who kept his nerve, to cut inside his marker before sliding the ball into the bottom corner of the goal giving Rodak no chance.
Paul Warne’s men responded superbly to the setback and following a bit of ping-pong in the City box involving Smith, Ajayi cleverly worked a shooting position to fire an effort which was deflected narrowly wide before Robertson headed over from the resultant corner.
In the next noteworthy action, Ben Wiles became the first to see yellow for pulling back Sterling – with the hosts in the midst of launching a quick counter-attack following Vaulks’ lazy pass from the back before the Millers were almost gifted an equaliser when Ederson dwelt in possession following a back pass and Forde guessed his intentions to knock the ball out of the Brazilian’s path but Taylor was denied the opportunity to tap home into the unguarded net – with Walker hacking the ball clear.
In the home side’s next attack, Jesus headed over from De Bruyne’s dangerous centre before Mahrez and De Bruyne combined superbly to pave the way for the Belgian to sneak around the back before picking out Jesus, who looked a certain scorer, but he fluffed his lines by screwing the ball wide despite having the goal at his mercy.
Moments later, Ilkay Gundogan tried his luck from distance with an ambitious effort which flew into the home faithful behind the goal before Sterling soon found himself in the book for a late lunge on Smith.
Just past the half hour mark, Rotherham looked more at home in their surroundings and they had faint appeals for a spot kick when Vyner swung over a delicious centre into the box and Ederson, in attempting to clear, clattered into Taylor and the retreating Stones, which left the Rotherham winger requiring treatment – with the referee taking no further action.
Moments later, Foden gave due evidence of immense potential with a mazy run and shot which was bravely blocked by Robertson before Gundogan spotted the City youngster in space before executing a superb floated ball into his path and Foden, in the action of bringing the ball down, seemed to knock the ball against his knee, and the ball dribbled past the advancing Rodak, into the heart of the Millers goal.
The hosts took a firm grip on the game with a third, just prior to the break, when another long ball over the top caught the Millers defence square and Walker raced away to deliver another tantalising centre into the danger area and the unlucky Ajayi, in attempting to clear under pressure from a City forward, could only fire high into the roof of his own net.
Half-time- Manchester City 3 Rotherham United 0
The home side started the second period as they finished the first with De Bruyne again pulling the strings with a wicked cross which Jesus almost turned home from close range but Rodak kept his nerve to divert the ball to safety but the Brazilian striker was not to be denied as he soon got amongst the goals – with a fourth goal, just nine minutes into the half.
There looked little danger for the Millers until Sterling put on the after burners to leave Vyner in his wake, as he darted into the box and after drawing Rodak from his line, he calmly slid the ball into the path of Jesus, who had the simple task of tapping home from close range.
The rampant hosts came within a whisker of a fifth goal with De Bruyne again the architect with a superb run and cross which bizarrely missed Jesus and the backtracking Ajayi – with the goal gaping before Mahrez blazed over from long range with a speculative effort, soon after.
Minutes later, Jesus’s incisive run and strike forced Rodak into a smart save before Wiles’ outside of the foot pass paved the way for Forde, to launch a rare Rotherham foray, which ended when the Irishman shot goalwards, but sub Leroy Sane came out of nowhere with a blocked tackle.
The Millers were indebted to Rodak for denying City a fifth goal when Sane’s corner was diverted by Vyner towards his own goal but the Slovakian stopper showed fleet of foot to parry the ball from near his own line before Robertson hacked clear.
However, the Fulham loanee was powerless to prevent the hosts eventually adding to their tally when Mahrez skipped away from his marker before playing a clever one-two with Gundogan to dart into the box and calmly slide the ball under the body of Rodak with a low, left-footed effort to find the heart of the visitors’ goal.
The Millers refused to throw in the towel and Wiles showed great tenacity to latch onto the loose ball before firing a low effort which had Ederson nervously scurrying across goal before Walker tried his luck, at the other end, with a long range piledriver which Rodak parried to safety.
However, City were not to be outdone from the resultant corner when Mahrez floated an inviting centre into the danger area and Nicolas Otamendi rose majestically from the pack to meet his cross and head powerfully into the roof of the net giving Rodak no chance.
The hosts added further gloss to the scoreline, late on, when Sane played a one-two with Gundogan before embarking on a slalom-like run which left Ajayi grasping at thin air, as the German winger struck an effort with his weaker right-foot and although Rodak looked set to save his effort, the ball took a slight deflection of a visiting defender to wrongfoot the Slovakian stopper.
Full-time- Manchester City 7 Rotherham United 0
Manchester City 7
Rotherham United 0
Teams:- Man City- Ederson, Walker, Stones (Danilo 75), Sterling (Sane 57), Gundogan, De Bruyne (Sandler 67), Mahrez, Otamendi, Jesus, Zinchenko, Foden. Unused- Muric, Laporte, B Silva, Fernandinho.
Rotherham- Rodak, Vyner (Wood 89), Mattock, Vaulks, Ajayi (Palmer 89), Forde, Taylor (Raggett 73), Robertson, Williams, Smith, Wiles. Unused- Price, Newell. Williams, Jones.
Referee- D Coote