Irresistible Manchester City scored nine goals as they thrashed Burton Albion with an incredible display of attacking football in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at Etihad Stadium.
Gabriel Jesus scored four, with Kevin de Bruyne, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker and Riyad Mahrez also scoring against Nigel Clough’s beleaguered League One side.
Headers from De Bruyne and Jesus made it 2-0, the Brazilian tapped in a third and Zinchenko’s curler put City four up.
Jesus added two more headers, with Foden, Walker and Mahrez scoring further goals.
This was the first time in more than 31 years that City had scored more than eight goals in a single match – they beat Huddersfield Town 10-1 in a second-tier league encounter in November 1987.
It means City have scored 16 goals in four days after thrashing Rotherham United 7-0 in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.
The second leg, merely a formality, takes place at the Pirelli Stadium on Wednesday, 23 January, with the final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, 24 February.
City, the Carabao Cup holders, are set to meet either Tottenham or Chelsea in the final, with Spurs leading 1-0 after Harry Kane’s penalty gave them a first-leg victory at Wembley on Tuesday.
City kill the tie off in 37 minutes
Before the game, Guardiola called the tournament “a more local competition” and said “everybody is happy to win but no-one is sad to go out”.
However, the Spaniard still named a strong team that included De Bruyne, Silva, Mahrez, Sane and Jesus, with starts for 20-year-old goalkeeper Aro Muric and Spanish centre-half Eric Garcia, on his 18th birthday.
It only took them five minutes to break through with De Bruyne’s header, and Sane almost added a second but fired into the side netting.
But three goals in a seven-minute spell in the first half took the tie away from Nigel Clough’s side.
Jesus got his first with a header after Sane’s effort had been parried by goalkeeper Brad Collins, and the Brazilian tapped in from Sane’s cross to make it 3-0, with the goal given after a video assistant referee check to see if he had been onside, which he was.
Zinchenko got his first City goal when he looped the ball over Collins from the edge of the penalty area, with Mahrez denied a fifth when the Burton goalkeeper tipped over his effort.
City did not let up after the break as Jesus completed his hat-trick when he headed in from Silva’s cross, and the sixth goal was scored by Foden, following up after Collins had denied Jesus.
But the Brazilian grabbed his fourth of the game three minutes later, with a tap-in from Sane’s low delivery.
Walker made it 8-0 with a side-footed finish and Silva hit the outside of the post, although the ninth was not far away as Mahrez bundled in another goal.
City had a chance to get a 10th but Zinchenko’s header was saved on the line by Collins.
City have won this competition in three of the past five years and their 2018 success was Guardiola’s first trophy in English football. With City playing eight matches in a hectic January, Guardiola will now have the luxury of resting some players for the second leg.
A tough evening for Burton’s fans
Burton – ninth in League One, 51 places below City – were playing in their first major cup semi-final, and around 3,000 of their supporters had tickets for the match at Etihad Stadium.
However, numerous traffic incidents caused tailbacks on the M6 with only one of their 31 fan coaches at the ground an hour before kick-off.
Some of their fans had still not taken their seats when De Bruyne’s header put the hosts in front, but the away fans should have been celebrating an equaliser seven minutes later, although Marcus Harness could only shoot over when unmarked 12 yards from goal.
After that miss, Burton were outclassed by a ruthless City side. Clough’s side still created chances, though, and Scott Fraser had an effort saved by Muric and shot just over early in the second half as the Brewers fans were denied the goal they wanted.
Burton had beaten five teams to reach this stage – including Premier League Burnley and Championship sides Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough – but were powerless to stop a rampant City outfit.
Man of the match – Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City).
‘Quality breeds quality’ – analysis
Dion Dublin, former Aston Villa striker on BBC Radio 5 live
When you have got so much quality pushing quality, you are going to get better performances. Pep Guardiola knows he is going to push Liverpool all the way in the Premier League title race, and this performance shows that he has players fighting for those shirts.
It doesn’t matter to a centre-forward about the opposition. When the ball leaves any part of your body and goes into the back of the net, that is the feeling you work so hard for. Tonight will give Gabriel Jesus a lot of confidence.
Guardiola’s joint-biggest win ever – the stats
- Manchester City have won 13 of their past 15 League Cup matches against sides from a lower division (drawing two), scoring 50 goals.
- City are the first side in the top four tiers of English football to score at least seven goals in back-to-back matches in all competitions since Leeds United did so back in October 1967 (9-0 v Spora Luxembourg in the Fairs Cup and 7-0 v Chelsea in the top flight).
- Manchester City have scored eight goals in a single match in any competition for the first time since November 1987, when they beat Huddersfield 10-1 in a second-tier encounter.
- Their 9-0 victory is Pep Guardiola’s joint-largest margin of victory as a manager, alongside Barcelona’s 9-0 thrashing of L’Hospitalet during a Copa del Rey match in December 2011.
- Since his League Cup debut for Manchester City in September 2015, Kevin de Bruyne has scored more goals in the competition than any other player (nine).
- Gabriel Jesus has now scored two hat-tricks at Etihad Stadium; only Carlos Tevez (four) and Sergio Aguero (10) have managed more home trebles for Manchester City since their move away from Maine Road.
- Gabriel Jesus (12) has reached double figures for goals scored in all competitions for the second successive season after netting 17 times in 2017-18 – only Sergio Aguero (14) has netted more than the Brazilian for Manchester City in 2018-19.
‘Never scored four before’ – what they said
Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus on Sky Sports: “I have never scored four before in my career; I am so happy for this. We played very well and with respect, that’s important.
“Players like me want to play more, to help the team, and we went out there to win.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: “The result was good and of course we are already in the final but we have to play the second leg. We will take it seriously. Burton have had an incredible tournament. They have to be so proud, they did so well.
“Strikers need to score goals, Gabriel Jesus has had chances in the last few games and today he has scored. He is so important.
“It is not easy to play this type of game against a lower team. We made good runs in behind and we took it seriously. After the second and third goal it was easier, we were faster and quicker.
“I am off for a glass of wine with Nigel Clough. I know how important his father was for English football, he was a genius. Incredible. It will be a pleasure to share some minutes with him.”
Burton Albion manager Nigel Clough: “We didn’t expect anything less with the gulf between the two teams. We thought it could have been more. We didn’t too much wrong. With two or three of the goals we could have done more but we didn’t do too badly.”
“We have made history in getting this far. It wasn’t about tonight, it was about the achievement of getting here. We kept going right to the end, they [the fans] were shouting ‘we want 10’ and we stopped them, that’s a positive for us. Some of the youngsters have had an experience that you can’t buy.
“It’s not nice when the goals are going in and you can do nothing to stop it. Pep said ‘come in for a glass of wine’ and I hope he’s got more than a glass. They are capable of doing that to Premier League teams.”
Manchester City return to Premier League action on Monday, 14 January at home to Wolves (20:00 GMT) and then face Huddersfield away on the following Sunday, before the second leg against on 23 January.
For Burton, they have a home match in League One with Gillingham on Saturday and an away game at Doncaster the following week before facing Guardiola’s side again.