Teenagers Phil Foden, Brahim Diaz steal the show as Man City stroll past Fulham
Manchester, ENGLAND -- Manchester City eased into the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Fulham. Spanish youngster Brahim Diaz scored both goals either side of half-time as the defending champions set up a last-eight tie with either Leicester City or Southampton.
It was a virtual stroll at the Etihad Stadium, with vital minutes for key players on an evening when City barely had to get out of second gear. Defensively, they were untroubled and they have now conceded just once in their past nine games.
It was a low-key evening, with the Etihad only two-thirds full, and City weren't quite at their absolute best. And after a poor start to their Premier League campaign, the visitors seemed more determined to avoid a hammering than trying to cause a shock.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Pep Guardiola has to try to find a balance to compete on all fronts, although he may insist that a quadruple is almost impossible. He got it right again, resting players, but having enough quality on the pitch to continue their defence of the Carabao Cup.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Aro Muric, 7 -- It was just a second start for the young City goalkeeper but his touch, handling and positioning were impeccable -- on the rare occasions he was involved.
DF Danilo, 7 -- The Brazilian's season has been heavily disrupted by niggling injuries. On just his second start, he looked lively supporting the attack and smashed the woodwork after an excellent individual run.
DF John Stones, 6 -- A couple of misplaced passes but it was generally a comfortable evening for the England defender.
DF Vincent Kompany, 7 -- Defending appeared so easy for the City captain as he glided through the game against a toothless attack.
DF Oleksandr Zinchenko, 6 -- The Ukrainian never looked troubled defensively but could maybe have offered more supporting the attack.
MF Fabian Delph, 7 -- A rare start in his more natural position of holding midfield with Fernandinho enjoying a rest. An enthusiastic performance that should give Guardiola confidence that Delph can deputise for the Brazilian on a regular basis.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 7 -- More minutes for the Belgian as he continues to get up to speed following his knee ligament injury, although he limped off with five minutes remaining. He's not far from being at his best, with his vision and quick thinking often too much for the Cottagers.
MF Phil Foden, 8 -- With each opportunity, he continues to look ready for more and more first-team involvement. The 18-year-old exudes confidence and has the composure and quality to pick the right pass and was inches from his first goal at the Etihad Stadium.
FW Brahim Diaz, 7 -- The 19-year-old wants more game time and, with his deal running down, was given a start by Guardiola. He got the breakthrough with a deflected strike but there was no doubts about his second, which he rifled into the roof of the net.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 7 -- After a difficult time following a tough World Cup, he looked like he was enjoying himself. He entertained with a couple of delightful tricks although a goal frustratingly eluded him.
FW Leroy Sane, 7 -- The German winger has been out of the starting lineup recently and showed he is determined to win back his place. The only thing that was missing was a lack of composure in front of goal that would have killed off Fulham sooner.
FW Riyad Marrez, N/R -- He had little time to make a significant impact.
MF Claudio Gomes, N/R -- First-team debut for the highly rated French midfielder signed from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.