Manchester City 2-0 Fulham: Brahim Diaz scores his first two goals for the club to put Pep Guardiola’s men into quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup
- Manchester City will take on the winners of the fourth-round tie between Leicester and Southampton
- Youngster Braham Diaz scored to put City in front after 18 minutes when he finished from close range
- It was the 19-year-old Spanish youngster’s first senior goal for the club since joining from Malaga in 2013
- Diaz doubled his tally and City’s lead 20 minutes into the second half after scoring again from close range
Generally speaking, Manchester City are razor sharp with their contract renewals. They quickly need to find some common ground with Brahim Diaz, however.
The 19-year-old could depart this summer and talks are currently at an impasse. Nobody here will want Thursday night’s double, his first goals for the club, to be the abiding memory.
Diaz, previously namechecked alongside Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho by the club’s hierarchy as a shining light of their academy, is too talented to allow leave. Sancho has already gone and thriving at Borussia Dortmund; they could really do without Diaz following suit.
Manchester City’s Brahim Diaz scored the goal that put Pep Guardiola’s side into the lead against Fulham on Thursday night
It was Diaz’s first senior goal for City and the 19-year-old celebrated wildly after watching his strike find the back of the net
Diaz was soon joined by his City team-mates who congratulated him on scoring the goal that gave his side control of the tie
Diaz and City’s evening got even better when he again took advantage of poor defending to coolly slot past Sergio Rico
City boss Pep Guardiola lifted both hands into the air after Diaz found the Fulham net early in the fourth-round clash
Manchester City (4-3-3): Muric 6.5; Danilo 7, Stones 7, Kompany 7, Zinchenko 6.5; Delph 7, De Bruyne 7.5 (Gomes 86), Foden 7; Diaz 8 (Mahrez 77), Jesus 7, Sane 7
Subs not used: Ederson, Walker, Sterling, Aguero, B Silva
Scorers: Diaz 18, 65
Manager: Pep Guardiola 7
Fulham (4-3-3): Rico 6; Fosu-Mensah 6, Ream 5 (Le Marchand 69, 6), Odoi 6, R Sessegnon 7; Seri 6.5, Cairney 6, Anguissa 7; Vietto 6.5 (Christie 90), Mitrovic 7, Schurrle 6 (Ayite 80)
Subs not used: Fabri, Mawson, De La Torre, S Sessegnon
Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic 6.5
Referee: Martin Atkinson 7
Player ratings by Jack Gaughan
Dortmund and Real Madrid are two casting watchful eyes over the forward, who relished this outing – his first home start since joining the academy from Malaga in 2013.
Foden was not bad either, by the way. He looks increasingly at home at this level, owning natural grace and poise. Yet the evening was Diaz’s.
‘The cup competitions are really important for the younger players and we look forward to them coming around,’ he said beforehand. ‘It’s more experience.’
An experience to remember, it turned out. City, the holders of this competition, led within 18 minutes and Diaz was the one wheeling away.
This was not an aesthetically special first goal by any stretch but the Spaniard cared not. Fabian Delph’s high, looping ball towards Sergio Rico’s back post was simply not dealt with sufficiently, Vincent Kompany bundling back in Diaz’s direction. The ball momentarily rolled loose before youthful desire took over, Diaz fizzing home while under pressure and via a Aleksandar Mitrovic deflection.
Pep Guardiola spun and punched the air, presumably as much for the client of his brother Pere’s agency as actually taking the lead, and City went on from there. Diaz almost added a second after a fabulous one-two with Gabriel Jesus, his ingenious flick blocked. City somehow managed to recycle that move before Foden fired over.
Danilo struck the angle of Rico’s near post when he rampaged through after collecting Diaz’s incisive pass, while Foden had another stinging effort beaten away. Foden final ball to Leroy Sane was perfect but the winger smashed over following Kevin De Bruyne’s barnstorming run.
City played calypso football for spells of the opening period, not least when Jesus danced with stepovers and curled wide. Fulham were manoeuvred at will, and with considerable ease. The youngsters – left back Aleksandr Zinchenko included – took care of possession. There was a precision to their game, particularly in midfield and the sort of which you might see during a training session.
Diaz looked delighted after opening his account for City from inside the Fulham penalty area in the first half
City and Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne speaks to Diaz after the Spanish youngster scored the opening goal
Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic put out a strong team for the Carabao Cup fourth-round fixture at the Etihad Stadium
Leroy Sane provided City with a constant threat and Fulham struggled to contain the classy Germany international
Given the general tepidness at the Etihad Stadium, the overwhelming sense of apathy towards the Carabao Cup that encases Premier League clubs before the quarter-final stage, it actually felt like this could well have been on show over the road at the City Football Academy. A lengthy lull was broken when Foden just flicked De Bruyne’s wicked cross wide.
Whatever you may think, these are important nights for certain individuals though and it is why the least prioritised piece of silverware is still of real use to even the largest of squads.
‘Phil is my brother and we train hard to play and improve alongside the players we have here,’ Diaz said. ‘We push each other, try to impress the boss and maybe we can both play in the team one day? Why not? Our aim is to one day play in the City team (regularly) together. There is no reason why this can’t happen.’
What was noticeable about Diaz’s first appearance since the previous round at Oxford United was his match-up with Ryan Sessegnon. The Fulham full back is actually a year younger but, with two full seasons in the Championship behind him, is physically more mature.
Sane was marked closely by Fulham’s defenders – here central defender Denis Odoi – but he managed to wriggle free
City forward Gabriel Jesus was starting ahead of Sergio Aguero who was being rested for the Saturday night game at home
Diaz didn’t have to wait too long into the second half before he doubled his tally with a precise left-footed strike
De Bruyne was again quick to run over to Diaz and celebrate the Spanish youngster’s second senior goal for City
Diaz was replaced by former Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez with 13 minutes left to play in the fourth-round tie
Sessegnon has gained a stone in weight over the summer, relentlessly hitting the gym in a bid to bulk up ahead of this debut year in the top flight. It showed on occasion, Diaz nudged off the ball, but the City winger soon learned new tricks and that is testament to his resilience. He found new tricks, coming deeper to collect the ball to give himself additional time, and gained further advantage by the way in which he held his frame.
Fulham, whose manager Slavisa Jokanovic is under increasing pressure, actually grew more confident before and after half-time. The strong line-up was with the hope of building momentum in mind, the need for first-choice defenders to play further minutes alongside each other before Monday’s crunch trip to Huddersfield. Andre Schurrle should have done better when he curled straight at young goalkeeper Aro Muric.
It was left to Diaz to settle this. Jesus – who was bright but cannot buy a goal at the moment – saw his effort tipped on to the post with 25 minutes remaining. Diaz collected the rebound, settled himself, and thundered City into the last eight. The only blemish was the sight of De Bruyne hobbling off with five minutes left after Timothy Fosu-Mensah fell on his left knee.
Guardiola gave Diaz a hug as the 19-year-old left the pitch after a profitable evening under the lights in Manchester
Source: Read Full Article