Newport County vs. Manchester City (FA Cup)


On a pitch unlike any other we've played on this season, we found it hard at times to impose our usual passing game.

DF Danilo, 6 - Had a hard first half defensively but improved in the second and was unlucky not to score with a long-range strike and another shot that hit the woodwork.

But they now face their biggest challenge yet in Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions. They attack the channels with long balls. It's about stepping forward and trying to impress him.

The League Two side frustrated the Premier League champions throughout a goalless first half at Rodney Parade and came agonisingly close to taking the lead despite City dominating possession on an uneven surface they initially struggled to adjust to.

With City becoming increasingly dominant, Danilo struck the post, before Mahrez, twisting and turning, saw his effort blocked at the last.

BT Sport broadcaster Jake Humphrey is already at the ground ahead of kick-off later on and has published a video showing the full extent of the damage to the pitch.

The 18-year-old scored twice as City overcame a hard pitch to knock out the League Two side to reach the quarterfinals of the FA Cup.

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It looked like there could be a grandstand finish when a defensive error by substitute Aymeric Laporte and Nicolas Otamendi allowed Padraig Amond to keep up his second of scoring in every round of the FA Cup this season. But City did nothing of the sort.

From one such delivery Newport seemed certain to take the lead when the ball bounced up invitingly for Bakinson who had all the goal to aim for with a close-range header, but City keeper Ederson appeared from nowhere to make a stunning save. And Mahrez added a fourth in added time.

Two brilliant goals and constant bravery in possession.

And a special mention for Fernandinho, City's Mr Consistent.

"We are in four competitions - every game is completely different". He's now played 49 matches in the competition.

No matter what happens from this point on, we will play a minimum of 57 matches, and should we continue in the FA Cup and Champions League, we may play as many as 64.

"That's the main one, so we'll see if we can get a result in that". It doesn't matter how deep a squad is, that kind of schedule takes its toll. As the pitch disintegrated quicker than a digestive biscuit, so City's great players adapted to its unpredictability and their mastery of the ball, even in these conditions, was spectacular at times. In the intervening years, City has only progressed past the quarterfinals twice, once when it suffered a shock defeat to relegation-bound Wigan in the 2013 final and again two years ago when it lost to Arsenal in the semifinals. That game will take place on the weekend of 16 and 17 March.