Swansea City 2-3 Manchester City
The quadruple is still alive!
Swansea – and lots of other supporters up and down the country – dreamed about the magic of the FA Cup for nearly 70 minutes.
They had gone toe-to-toe with aristocrats Manchester City to stun everyone from South Wales to Singapore.
What happened in the final 21 minutes was simply heartbreaking for the underdogs, especially with video replays – VAR was not in use in this tie – showing City’s winner was slightly offside and their second goal arose from a penalty kick which was questionably awarded.
But what you can’t deny is the character and class in this expensively assembled City side.
In a tie which produced numerous FA Cup 2019 highlights, it’s the plaudits for Swansea and the prize for City.
Highlights of the game
Swansea City players complain to the referee after a penalty is awarded to Manchester City during their FA Cup clash
After their midweek blitz in Europe, you would have been hard-pushed to find any us fan backing Swansea, let alone FA Cup 2019 betting odds.
Swansea crave a return to the top flight after going down with a whimper last May, and the home team certainly needed their fans with them after recent frustrations.
Two goals in eight mad minutes certainly did that, yet those stunned spectators, not least the Swans’ own faithful.
First, Fabian Delph (who received harsh criticism on social media for his showing) lunged in on Connor Roberts. Matt Grimes made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Then a former City youngster, Bersant Celina, curled a superb first-time shot past a helpless Ederson.
When Roberts cleared off the line to deny David Silva when it looked all ends up a goal, Swansea (looking to reach the FA Cup semi-final for the third time, having done so in 1926 and 1964), may have sensed it was their night.
Kristoffer Nordfeldt had been in fine form from the outset, denying Leroy Sane with a smart save before Riyad Mahrez’s follow-up header drifted wide.
Next, he produced a fine save to prevent Bernardo Silva from opening the scoring.
To a man Swansea gave everything and, while at times it was akin to an attack-vs-defence exercise, they held out until, with 21 minutes remaining, Bernardo Silva pulled one back with a fine finish with the outside of his foot.
It was hard to see the spirited Championship outfit holding out at this stage, but the way they were pegged back was incredibly unfortunate.
It was the unfortunate Nordfeldt who had the final touch after substitute Sergio Aguero’s penalty – awarded for a challenge by Cameron Carter-Vickers on Raheem Sterling – hit the post and bounced over the line off the goalkeeper.
He was not downhearted, producing a superb double save to deny Aguero’s header and then keep out the rebound with his legs.
Kyle Walker went close, but there can be no denying Aguero as the world-class talisman sealed their place in the semi-finals with a diving header from a Bernardo Silva cross.
It was marginally offside, and the fact VAR was not in use – as it is only in place at Premier League grounds – was little comfort the hosts. It should be used in this competition in every tie or not at all.
Not that it was City’s fault.
The result meant their unlikely quadruple bid – the chase to win all four trophies – remains a possibility.
Swansea were gutted, City ecstatic.
Cruel, class, character, controversial – so many words. Pick any of them. This was a classic cup tie.
Juventus Asian Handicap -1.75 @ 1.92 Over 3.00 @ 1.98 1X2 Juventus @ 1.22CLICK HEREDisclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.Serie A
City have won 11 of their last 12 meetings in all competitions.
They won the two league encounters with Swansea last season by an aggregate score of 9-0.
This is the first-ever FA Cup meeting between Swansea and Manchester City.
Since reaching the FA Cup quarter-finals, Swansea have lost three of their four games, although they had been unbeaten at home since Boxing Day until tonight.
The Swans have been eliminated in seven of their last eight FA Cup ties against Premier League opponents. The exception to that was a 2014 success at Old Trafford against Manchester United.
City have lost just once since Boxing Day.
It’s international break time now and then the relentless period which will shape City’s season begins.
They resume action at Fulham a fortnight today (March 30) before a spell of seven games in just 22 days in all competitions (Premier League, FA Cup semi-final and Champions League) including three matches against Spurs in under a fortnight.
Swansea, 15th in the table, have a similar spell in Championship fixtures, beginning at Nottingham Forest two weeks today.
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