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Manchester City v Birmingham City Live Commentary & Result, 10/01/2021, FA Cup


Manchester City coast through to the fourth round of the FA Cup thanks to a first-half blitz against Birmingham City. Silva’s sublime early volley set the tone before the Spaniard was at the double, finishing off a textbook Man City move to put the hosts two ahead after just 15 minutes. Foden added a third in the 33rd minute with a lovely strike to put the game beyond doubt. After a raft of changes, the visitors were better in the second period, drawing Steffen into action a couple of times, but City were never really troubled and will be disappointed they couldn’t push on four a fourth. 


90′ + 2′ Both teams are just running down the seconds here until this one is in the books.

90′ + 1′ There will be two minutes of added time.

90′ It’s been comfortable for City but Guardiola continues to look unhappy on the touchline. In fairness, he would have been expecting them to add to their haul of three goals at half-time.

90′ Foden sends a corner into the back post but there’s nobody there to meet it and the ball dribbles out for a goal-kick.

J. Clarke-Salter

Yellow Card

88′ City break before Clarke-Salter halts Nmecha in his tracks. His side would have been in trouble if he hadn’t intervened and he is rightly booked.

87′ Birmingham continue to come forward in the closing stages. Sanchez cuts in from the right and fires a shot wide of Steffen’s post.

85′ Steffen spills a simple shot from Bella and scrambles the ball clear as Jutkiewicz was on-hand to take advantage. Bella was offside in the build up so play is brought back.

84′ CLOSE! It opens up for Bela just outside the City area and the Birmingham man doesn’t hesitate, firing a thunderous shot that brushes the top of the net on its way over the bar.

83′ Silva spots Delap in the box and picks out his man well. The youngster rises highest but can’t direct his header on target for a dream goal.

82′ Clarke-Salter dispossesses Foden and Birmingham break down the left-hand side. Bela and Friend link up well before the former flashes a shot across the face of goal from a tight angle. He had team-mates in the box, so the shot was perhaps the wrong decision there. 

80′ Fernandinho plays a brilliant ball through for Foden but Roberts recovers superbly to get in front of the Man City midfielder and clear.

79′ The visitors are definitely starting to enjoy a little more time on the ball as the home side continue to waste chances going forward.

78′ Clarke-Salter gets to the corner but can’t direct it on target and City have a goal-kick.

77′ Sanchez takes on Silva and runs away from him before Mendy is able to deflect the cross out for a corner.

76′ Roberts launches a long throw into the box for Birmingham in what represents one of their better chances. City mop up the danger comfortably.

Manchester City

75′ The highly rated Delap is on for Jesus for the final 15 minutes.

Manchester City

74′ Friend turns Walker well before being brought down. The Manchester City defender earns a yellow for the challenge.

74′ Mendy has so much space on the left to pick out a cross but finds the head of a Birmingham defender. That was a huge waste.

72′ Bela fires a rare shot on goal for Birmingham that appears to trouble Steffen briefly before the keeper eventully gathers the ball he spilled initially.

72′ Foden attempts a De Bruyne-esque throughball but it’s slightly overhit with Mahrez not alert enough to react.

70′ Friend has acres of space on the left and is picked out by Sanchez. His cross looks like it’s deflected out for a corner but the referee rules that Steffen kept the ball in.

Birmingham City

68′ Jutkiewicz will get 20 minutes or so in place of Leko who had some good moments.

67′ CHANCE!! The ball breaks to Silva from the free-kick but he snatches at the chance to bag his hat-trick and drags it out for a goal-kick.

Jérémie Bela

I. Šunjić

Birmingham City

67′ Karanka makes another change as well with Bela on for Sunjic.

Manchester City

67′ Fernandinho is on for Rodri for the final quarter of the game.

66′ Roberts fouls Nmecha and gives the hosts a chance from a free-kick. However, before that, it looks like there’s going to be some changes.

65′ Sanchez takes Birmingham into the City half for the first time in a while. However, they’re quickly dispossessed when Clayton misplaces a pass.

64′ Mahrez has a shot blocked after Birmingham partially clear a corner. The Algerian’s claims for a handball are quickly waved away.

62′ Nmecha has been very bright since coming on. The opposition aren’t putting up much of a fight granted, but he looks a real prospect. 

60′ The ball is in the net for City and it’s exquisite yet again. They break with pace before Foden picks out Mahrez at the back post with the Algerian finishing well. However, the linesman’s flag is straight up before VAR confirms the decision.

59′ Walker gets the better of Friend before picking out Silva in the middle. The midfielder directs an effort goalward but it agonisingly dribbles just wide of the far post.

57′ The corner is whipped in and causes chaos briefly. Silva has a chance to poke the ball home but Colin defends well before Prieto finally gets his hands on it.

56′ Jesus works a half-chance after a one-two with Mahrez. The Brazilian can’t score but wins his side a corner. 

55′ Leko picks the ball up on the left and play is allowed to carry on before the linesman’s flag eventually goes up.

55′ The gulf in the two teams is stark. The City players appear to be going through the motions here in a style reminiscent of a training game.

53′ The hosts pass the ball around comfortably between defence and midfield, patiently waiting for an opening in the opposition formation. 

51′ Leko and Colin, who have been Birmingham’s best players, link up well on the right flank briefly before City win a throw-in.

50′ Even in these early second-half exchanges, Birmingham are exerting very little pressure on their opponents when they have the ball. 

48′ Will we see a slightly more competitive half of football with both managers bringing on some fresh legs?

46′ We’re back underway for the second half.

Birmingham City

46′ The second Birmingham change sees Clayton replace Toral.

Birmingham City

46′ Unsurprisingly, the visitors have also dipped into the subs. Roberts is on for Hogan. 

T. Harwood-Bellis

João Cancelo

Manchester City

46′ In the last of three changes for now, Harwood-Bellis gets a chance and comes on for Cancelo.

Manchester City

46′ Stones is also on in place of Dias.

Manchester City

46′ Changes at the break. For City, Nmecha replaces De Bruyne. 

Despite the one-sided nature of the opening 45 minutes, Guardiola didn’t seem overly pleased with some of his team’s play, which is a worrying thought for the visitors. Birmingham need to try and get on the ball more in the second half if they are to have any success in this game.

Manchester City lead Birmingham City 3-0 at the break after a dominant display of football. Silva got the hosts off to the perfect start with a sublime volley in the eighth minute before the Spaniard doubled City’s advantage seven minutes later, finishing off a delightful passage of play. The waves of pressure kept coming and just after the half-hour mark Foden struck from outside the box to make it three. In all honesty, it could have been worse for Birmingham who will be looking to limit the damage in the second period.


45′ + 2′ Birmingham defend the set-piece well as they look to survive to half-time.

45′ + 1′ Mahrez wins his side a free-kick when he is brought down by Leko. The Birmingham man is lucky not to be cautioned but City have a chance to whip in a telling cross.

45′ + 1′ There will be two minutes of added time.

45′ Mahrez takes the free-kick and strikes it well but it’s two yards over the bar.

Birmingham City

44′ It’s been coming and it’s Sunjic who becomes the first player to be booked. Foden is bearing down on the defence and the midfielder feels he has no option but to cynically haul the Englishman down.

41′ The visitors work the ball into a promising area on the right with Colin firing a cross into the danger area. However, Steffen is alert in goal and able to clear the threat.

41′ Up the other end and Silva flashes a first-time volley into the side netting as he looks to bag his hat-trick and City’s fourth.

40′ Despite the scoreline, Guardiola has cut a frustrated figure for the majority of the match so far. In particular, he appears to get animated when his side’s tempo drops.

38′ De Bruyne fizzes another exquisite cross-field pass into Foden. The Englishman can’t force a chance but it’s more breathtaking stuff from the Belgian.

36′ The game has really opened up and City almost make it four. De Bruyne splits the Birmingham defence open again with a ridiculous pass and Jesus works himself into position to score. The Brazilian chips Prieto in goal but his effort is scrambled off the line.

34′ SAVE! Up the other end Toral breaks forward and finds Friend who has made a surging run from left-back. He takes a touch before firing a shot that clips Cancelo and draws a smart save from Steffen.

Manchester City

33′ Mahrez bags himself a well-deserved assist. The Algerian has been lively so far and made a bursting run forward to set up Foden for the goal.

Manchester City

33′ GOAAAAAALL! IT’S 3-0 CITY! Mahrez breaks forward with pace before finding Foden on the edge of the box. He’s surrounded by Birmingham defenders but his first touch is brilliant and his second is even better as he fires a low shot into the bottom corner. 3-0 City!

31′ Foden is played in by De Bruyne and he’s clean through before being taken out by San Jose. VAR has a brief look to see if the challenge merits further action but officials rule no foul has been committed.

30′ SAVE! De Bruyne has time outside the box and picks out Jesus who has made a run in behind. The Brazilian gets a shot away from a tight angle but Prieto does well to get his body in the way. 

28′ Kieftenbeld is the next player to be penalised for a late challenge. He catches Rodri but escapes without a booking.

27′ Birmingham have the ball in an advanced area briefly before Kieftenbeld is dispossessed. It looks like City have the chance to break but the Blues recover into their shape quickly.

25′ Foden is such an intelligent player. The ball comes out to him at the edge of the box and quick as you like, he shifts it onto his right foot and fires a shot goalward. He can’t find the target but it’s another warning shot to their opponents. 

24′ Toral wins the ball but is penalised for his follow through on Jesus. It was high but not overly dangerous so the referee just gives him a warning. 

23′ City have enjoyed more than 80 per cent of the ball in the first quarter of the match. The visitors need to try and halt the Premier League side’s momentum if they can. 

21′ Play is stopped momentarily as Toral is down for Birmingham.

19′ Birmingham finally get on the ball and Leko does brilliantly to get past Cancelo on the left-hand side. He’s on the byline and has a chance to pick out a team-mate but Rodri gets back to dispossess the midfielder. 

17′ Dias overruns the ball and looks to catch Sanchez with a dangerous challenge in an attempt to recover the situation. Perhaps fortunately, the City defender escapes with just a talking to.

Manchester City

15′ GOAL! SILVA DOUBLES CITY’S LEAD! This is a textbook City goal. Mahrez, Foden and De Bruyne pass it around with ease on the right flank before the Algerian plays in De Bruyne who cuts it back for the onrushing Silva to finish from close range. 2-0 City!

Manchester City

15′ De Bruyne adds another assist to his ever-growing list of goal contributions. He was played in brilliantly by Mahrez, but his cross to Silva was equally pinpoint.

13′ SHOT! Jesus is played in by Foden and cuts in past Colin to strike but the defender does well to get a touch and deflect it out for a corner.

10′ It’s the worst possible start for Birmingham who had looked very organised in the opening exchanges. But there’s nothing you can do when someone scores a goal like that. The Blues have a mountain to climb now!

Manchester City

8′ CITY LEAD 1-0! WHAT A GOAL FROM SILVA! Friend fails to deal with a diagonal ball played towards Mahrez and can only head it into the danger area. And it falls for Silva on the volley who thunders it into the top corner to put City one goal to the good!

6′ A good ball over the top finds Silva who beats the offside trap. The midfielder is quite isolated which allows the Blues to recover and stifle the threat. 

4′ City’s passing is crisp early on and De Bruyne is played in on the right at the end of a patient move. However, Friend recovers brilliantly to challenge the Belgian and win the ball back. 

2′ City dominate the ball early on but a loose pass from Dias is picked up by Leko who drives forward. He is dispossessed and the loose ball almost falls kindly for Toral who would’ve had a great chance to score. 

1′ Referee Robert Jones blows his whistle and gets this FA Cup clash underway.

The teams are emerging from the tunnel and kick-off is moments away!

This is the first FA Cup meeting between Man City and Birmingham since a third-round tie in January 2001, Man City winning 3-2 at Maine Road. 

Karanka has made four changes to the team that lost at home to Blackburn Rovers last time out. Colin replaces Dacres-Cogley at right-back in an otherwise unchanged defence, while Toral starts ahead of McGree in a midfield three that lines up behind Hogan who gets the nod up front.

Both sides have made some changes for this encounter. First up, it’s five for Pep Guardiola who has a depleted squad to choose from in the wake of their coronovirus outbreak. However, Walker has been cleared to play and both he and Mendy return to the starting XI in place of Stones and Zinchenko who begin on the bench. Rodrigo is preferred ahead of Fernandinho to protect the defence, with Bernardo Silva joining De Bruyne, Mahrez and Foden in a midfield four. Jesus starts as the lone striker.

BIRMINGHAM CITY SUBS: Kristian Pedersen, Aaron Clayton, Marc Roberts, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Neil Etheridge, Riley McGree, Harlee Dean, Josh Dacres-Cogley, Jeremie Bela.

BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-2-3-1): Andres Prieto; Maxime Colin, Jake Clarke-Salter, George Friend, Mikel San Jose; Maikel Kieftenbeld, Ivan Sunjic; Jon Toral, Jonathan Leko, Ivan Sanchez; Scott Hogan.

MANCHESTER CITY SUBS: John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan, Ederson, Fernandinho, Felix Nmecha, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Liam Delap, Luke Mbete, Taylor Harwood-Bellis.

MANCHESTER CITY (4-1-4-1): Zack Steffen; Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy; Rodrigo; Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden; Gabriel Jesus.

Birmingham, meanwhile, are languishing down in 18th in the Championship standings after losing five of their last six league outings. And to make matters worse, the Blues haven’t scored a single goal in their last three fixtures. A cup clash will likely be a welcome break for Aitor Karanka and his side, but they face a tough challenge in arguably the country’s in-form team.

After an indifferent start to the 2020-21 campaign, City have hit form and enter this contest looking to make it six wins on the bounce. A 2-0 victory over Manchester United last time out set up an EFL Cup final with Tottenham, and the Citizens have moved up to fifth in the Premier League, four points adrift of leaders Liverpool with two games in hand. They’ve won this trophy six times, which includes a victory in 1956 when they overcame today’s opponents in the final.

Hello and welcome to live coverage of the FA Cup third round meeting between Manchester City and Birmingham City from the Etihad Stadium.