Manchester City will play Arsenal in FA Cup semi-final battle after brilliantly beating Newcastle at an eerily quiet St James’ Park on Sunday.
Shorn of a fervent home support, Newcastle struggled in the first half against their opponents who are aiming to complete a cup treble after conceding the Premier League title to Liverpool this week.
After wasting several good chances, City opened the scoring from the penalty spot when Kevin de Bruyne slotted past Karl Darlow following Fabian Schar’s needless push on Gabriel Jesus.
But after switching to a more positive formation in the second half, Steve Bruce’s team pressed higher up the pitch and the game opened up before a key turning point after the hour mark.
Although Andy Carroll caused problems of a physical nature on his first start since December, it was his replacement Dwight Gayle who had Newcastle’s best chance when he somehow skied over from six yards following Allan Saint-Maximin’s low cross.
Within two minutes, Raheem Sterling raced down the other end and slotted into the bottom corner with an exquisite curling finish for his 22nd goal of the season.
The errors by Schar and Gayle undid Newcastle’s hard work, but Manchester City kept their composure to extend their winning FA Cup run to 10 games.
Having already won the League Cup and with a lead over Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League, it could still be a memorable season for Pep Guardiola’s side.
For Newcastle, the dream of reaching an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley for the first time since 2000 was beyond them, but they can now concentrate on trying to fulfil Bruce’s aim of breaking into the Premier League’s top 10.