BRAHIM DIAZ DOU­BLE SENDS BLUES INTO LAST EIGHT

Observer on Saturday - - Sport -

MANCH­ESTER - Manch­ester City star­let Brahim Diaz scored his first goals for the club as the hold­ers moved ef­fort­lessly into the last eight.

Diaz, a Spain Un­der-21 star, scored ei­ther side of half-time to set up a quar­ter-fi­nal meet­ing away to Le­ices­ter or Southamp­ton for Pep Guardi­ola's men.

A fifth straight de­feat kept the heat on un­der-pres­sure Ful­ham boss Slaviska Jokanovic, al­though few ex­pected the vis­i­tors to emerge vic­to­ri­ous, with City so strong.

City's sup­posed 'se­cond-string' was still a for­mi­da­ble line-up, in­clud­ing Vincent Kom­pany, John Stones, Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane, with their bench alone worth £276mil­lion.

Diaz may have plun­dered the goals, but the game's stand-out per­former was De Bruyne, who, af­ter a two-month injury lay-off, is get­ting back to peak form and fit­ness at just the right time.

With the ea­gerly-awaited Manch­ester derby against lo­cal ri­vals United loom­ing large at the Eti­had on Novem­ber 11, De Bruyne could not have timed his re­turn bet­ter.

But the Bel­gium in­ter­na­tional was forced off with five min­utes left af­ter tak­ing a knock to his left knee in a tus­sle with Ti­mothy Fosu-Men­sah, with City hop­ing the prob­lem is a mi­nor one.

The Carabao Cup may be the trophy low­est on City's pri­or­ity list, but ahead of the game Guardi­ola spoke of their de­sire to re­tain it by stat­ing his side would “not sur­ren­der the ti­tle lightly”.

Pre­dictably, City dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion from the start, Ful­ham rarely manag­ing to emerge from their own half, forced into a sus­tained pol­icy of con­tain­ment from kick-off. Phil Fo­den forced a de­cent save from Rico in the 14 minute, while Fuham's only at­tempt at the other end was a tame ef­fort from Lu­cia no Viet to, straight at City keeper Aro Muric.

GOLDEN FOOT: Brahim Diaz cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing one of his goals.

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