Bernardo Silva struck twice early on as Manchester City eased into the FA Cup fourth spherical with a cushty 3-0 win over Championship facet Birmingham.
Phil Foden additionally netted within the first half as 2019 winners City started their newest cup quest with a routine victory on the Etihad Stadium.
Birmingham, 18th within the Championship and with no win of their earlier six video games, not often troubled the hosts except for a Jeremie Bela-led late flurry when the outcome was already past doubt.
City might have received by extra, such was their dominance, and Riyad Mahrez had a second-half effort dominated out for offside.
City had hoped their beginning line-up would function file goalscorer Sergio Aguero for the primary time since October however the Argentinian, who’s being eased again into motion after knee bother, didn’t even make the bench.
No clarification for his absence was given earlier than the sport however the membership did verify the 32-12 months-previous was not injured and was in any other case unavailable. There have been experiences the participant was self-isolating however these weren’t confirmed.
Aguero’s presence, nevertheless, was hardly required on this event as City made simple work of Birmingham.
Pep Guardiola’s males have been so fluid, with quite a few gamers switching positions relying on the character of an assault, the guests merely couldn’t get a deal with on them.
City quickly established full management and nearly put the sport out of sight inside the first quarter of an hour.
The opening aim got here after seven minutes. Joao Cancelo, who often drifted into central midfield from proper-again, clipped the ball into the realm and George Friend’s tried clearance fell to Silva on the sting of the realm. The Portuguese adjusted immediately and fired a chest-excessive half-volley into the roof of the web.
It was a spectacular strike and Silva was readily available once more to double the lead quickly after. This time it could have been a mere faucet-in however the construct-up was equally spectacular as City carved the guests open.
Mahrez performed in Kevin De Bruyne with a intelligent ball with the surface of his foot and the Belgian pulled again from the byline to current Silva with a easy end.
It was inevitable City would rating extra as Foden shot vast following a neat flip and Gabriel Jesus, again within the facet after coming back from isolation, bought behind the defence just for goalkeeper Andres Prieto to intervene.
Foden needed a penalty after a problem by Mikel San Jose however, had it been given, replays prompt any offence would have been outdoors the realm.
Foden was not deterred and struck the third simply after the half-hour mark. The 20-12 months-previous took a neat contact to mistaken-foot a defender following a break from Mahrez after which drilled a left-foot shot into the underside nook from distance.
A uncommon Birmingham assault noticed Friend have a deflected shot saved by Zack Steffen earlier than Jesus had an effort hooked off the road by Maikel Kieftenbeld.
Silva twice went near finishing his hat-trick with efforts that hit the facet-netting and rolled vast both facet of the break.
City’s depth slowed after a collection of substitutions however Mahrez was unfortunate to be denied by a decent offside name when he volleyed in on the hour.
Birmingham started to get just a few openings within the latter levels as City eased off. Substitute Bela proved a handful, twice troubling Steffen with lengthy-vary strikes after which hitting one other narrowly over.