Newcastle United 0-2 Manchester City: Holders breeze past Magpies to the final four
Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (L) scores the opening goal from the penalty spot during the English FA Cup quarter-final football match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on June 28, 2020. (Photo by OWEN HUMPHREYS / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by OWEN HUMPHREYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

It wasn't quite the noisy and full stadium that Newcastle United supporters had previously hoped for, but nevertheless it was a chance for their side to reach their first semi-final since 2006. 

As expected to be, it was the visitors who started the game on the front foot with the lion's share of possession. 

It took until 11 minutes for their first sight of goal when Benjamin Mendy slashed an attempt wide from a tight angle, but a better chance for Riyad Mahrez followed when the Algerian blazed over a minute later.

In the 19th minute, Mahrez had the ball again on his favoured left-foot but his effort from the edge of the area didn't quite have enough curl on it to find the inside of Karl Darlow's right-hand post. 

United camped in their half

It was no huge surprise to see Steve Bruce revert back to the old back-five formation that he adopted last August for some greater defensive assurance.

Since United have gone back to the four they've looked better going forward, but they had not been tested against the quality of this Manchester City side prior to today. 

The drinks break came at a good time for the hosts as it followed a Raheem Sterling shot which was beaten away by Darlow before Mendy delivered a dangerous low cross beating everybody. 

Only Andy Carroll was Newcastle's target man going forward, and City had already clocked up 12 times as many passes as their opposite numbers in black and white by the drinks stoppage. 

For all of United's defensive organisation in the opening 35 minutes, it was a sucker-punch to concede the opener from the penalty spot after Fabian Schar was penalised for a push in the box and De-Bruyne converted for his 12th g goal of the season.

It took until the end of the half for Bruce's side to register an attempt, when Sean Longstaff searched from distance but it was well wide-summing up their half. 

With the final action of the first 45, Aymeric Laporte rose highest from a David Silva corner only to see his header fall agonisingly wide. 

United better but similar story

It became a trio of Mahrez' attempts eight minutes into the second half when he let fly from outside the area but again he saw his effort just over. 

United had gone back to a back-four at this point with Schar allowed a license to move into the midfield in a hopeful to ploy to gain United a better grip on the contest. 

The alteration to formation allowed the home side to see a bit more of the ball in getting Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron involved, in contrast to the first half.

On 63 minutes, a decent ball from Mendy just about found Gabriel Jesus but Danny Rose did well to get up and steer away danger, winning a foul in the process. 

The golden opportunity for Newcastle came on 65 minutes when substitute Dwight Gayle somehow steered a Saint-Maximin delivery over the bar from a matter of yards. 

He had made an instant impact in Wednesday's draw with Aston Villa but failed to convert on this occasion.

He and his side were made to pay when Sterling made no mistake in beating Darlow from the edge of the area to double his side's lead and all but secure their place in the semi-final against Arsenal.  

It could have been three with 15 minutes left on the clock when Longstaff gave the ball away in midfield before Phil Foden, fresh from coning on, hooked his shot just wide across goal. 

With his future still up in the air, there was some minutes left for Matty Longstaff, who replaced Isaac Hayden for the final ten minutes to complete United's roster of change.

City were pushing for a third right until the whistle, but it was a game that was never really in doubt when the penalty went in.

 Newcastle may wonder what could have been had Gayle scored their only real opportunity of the evening, but City did what they do best and punished them for it, advancing to the last four. 

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