Manchester City planted one foot in the Carabao Cup final after cruising to a 3-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford in the first leg of their semifinal (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.).
Bernardo Silva set City on their way with a scorching effort from distance after 17 minutes, before turning provider 15 minutes later to release Riyad Mahrez for a simple finish for 2-0. An Andreas Pereira own goal put the game beyond United before half-time, but Marcus Rashford gave the Red Devils a glimmer of hope going into the second leg after slotting home in the second half.
The visitors showed great discipline to ride the waves of a bright United start before taking total control and bossing proceedings for the majority of the first half. The City passing machine clicked into gear after the 10-minute mark and United simply had no answer for the movement of Pep Guardiola's classy four-man forward line.
City dropped their intensity in the second half, and moments of sloppiness quickly entered their play, culminating in poor touches by Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri on the way to Rashford scoring. It was also a disappointing night for Raheem Sterling, who really should've found the net for the first time against United in his nine-year career.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Guardiola's team selection effectively put his side a goal ahead in this one, and against an under-strength United XI, the slick City midfield ruthlessly exposed a meek Red Devils team that aren't even eating in the same canteen as their cross-town rivals.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Claudio Bravo, 6 -- Started the build-up to City's opener with an accurately lofted ball into United territory, and the former Barca keeper was excellent with his distribution throughout.
DF Benjamin Mendy, 6 -- Didn't get forward in quite the same buccaneering fashion as Kyle Walker on the other flank, but did provide a beautiful lobbed ball over the top of the United defence for a Mahrez chance early in the second half. Never tested defensively.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 6 -- The pacey United front line got in-behind the Argentine a couple of times early on, but once City took total control he looked much more settled.
DF Fernandinho, 7 -- Had to be alert early on to deny Rashford a run at goal, and the old head was also a steady one in the heart of the visiting defence.
DF Kyle Walker, 7 -- Played his part in the opening goal with a foray into the United defensive third before cutting the ball inside for Silva to do his damage. Booked for taking too long over a late throw-in.
MF Rodri, 6 -- The Spaniard had next-to-nothing to do defensively against a United outfit lacking any remnant of creativity in the first half, but a weak challenge in midfield helped the Reds on their way to their second-half consolation. Booked for a cynical foul on Pereira just after the hour.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 6 -- Running the midfield against the United pairing of Pereira and Fred was a walk in the park for the German, who kept play ticking over without needing to come out of second gear. Struggled a touch when United grew in belief in the second half.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 6 -- Left Phil Jones on his backside as the Belgian wove past the hapless United centre-half on the way to City's somewhat fortunate third goal, but an under-hit pass put teammate Rodri in trouble for United's goal. Replaced by Gabriel Jesus for the final 11 minutes.
MF Bernardo Silva, 8 -- Naively shown onto his left foot by the United midfield and unleashed a stunning strike that flew past David De Gea, before showing his soft and gooey side with a beautifully-weighted through-ball for Mahrez to put City 2-0 up.
MF, Riyad Mahrez, 7 -- The Algerian wasn't involved hugely on the City right for the opening half-hour, until he was released on goal and calmly rounded De Gea to put his side halfway to Wembley. Could've had a second in the 69th minute but was denied by a smart De Gea save.
FW Raheem Sterling, 5 -- The most advanced of City's forwards will be scratching his head as to how he failed to get on the score sheet. If he was in a more clinical mood he could quite easily have had a hat trick, but he instead produced an exhibition of the sort of finishing that threatened to hamper his development a few years ago.
Gabriel Jesus, N/A -- Unable to add to the City tally
Phil Foden, N/A -- Replaced Sterling, but not enough time to make an impact