MAN CITY 5 BARNSLEY 0 – Tevez in the fast lane

When Manchester City reached their first Wembley FA Cup semi final the big joke was Carlos Tevez had to sit on the front seat to give directions – he was the only one who knew the way!

That was 23 months ago, before Roberto Mancini brought the curtain down on 35 success starved years and started to deliver annual silverware to City’s trophy cabinet.

It was therefore somewhat ironic that Tevez, the talisman of City’s FA Cup winning campaign of 2010/11, was missing from their glorious semi final win over Manchester United having been injured at Anfield just days before.

Notwithstanding the Argentine striker’s motoring misdemeanors, his navigational skills proved spot on at the Etihad as he bagged a hat-trick in an embarrassingly easy 5-0 drubbing of Barnsley.

The controversial striker doesn’t hold a valid UK driving licence but he more than qualified for his HGV (High Goals Volume) version, as City romped to a quarter final victory over their Championship opponents.

With his more acclaimed countryman and strike partner Sergio Aguero missing through injury, Tevez seized his moment, dusted off his licence to thrill and killed off the Yorkshiremen with a brace of first half goals.

By half time terrier Tevez had also provided a beautiful assist for the best goal of the game from Aleksander Kolarov, as he had an arresting effect on anything and everything at a near capacity Etihad Stadium.

The final 45 minutes saw him complete his own triple crown and provide yet another assist – this time for the ever silky David Silva – in a fabulous five star performance.

This was King Carlos at his best, holding court akin to days of old when he was, quite simply, Manchester City, driving opponents to despair and visiting fans to distraction.

A 6,000 strong Tyke invasion force were reduced to shallow taunts of the Sky Blue masses long before the conclusion of this War of the Roses mismatch.

With absolutely nothing to cheer on the pitch, the Yorkshire ‘puddings’ descended into chants of ‘Where were you when you were sh*t…’ and ‘Champions League, you’re havin’ a laugh…’

In this particular instance the ripostes were simple. An average 28,000 home crowd in the third tier of English football tells the whole world that the bedrock of City fans actually know their ‘sh*t’ – both good and bad.

As for the CL – the City fans could have responded with ‘Championship, you’re havin’ a laugh’ as Barnsley slumped to the bottom of the second tier of the domestic game before they began their fruitless FA Cup pursuit.

They could, but the naturally good humored and magnanimous Manchester City faithful don’t believe in mocking the afflicted.

Tevez took his place in a much changed CityXI with Clichy, Nastasic, Milner, Garcia and Hart making way for Kolarov, Lescott, Nasri, Barry and Pantilimon.

Dzeko who came on as a  sub at Villa Park on Monday night, retained his place, with the man he replaced, the luckless Jack Rodwell, once again sidelined by a hamstring injury.

The game was all but over by the 27th minute when the hard working Dzeko lost and then won back possession, releasing Tevez down the right flank. The ever industrious pocket battleship, showing excellent vision, hit a perfect low cross for Kolarov, who drilled the ball home with his lethal left foot.

Tevez launched the goal glut in the 11th minute, courtesy of a simple tap in after a delightful dinked ball from Yaya Toure had been volleyed by Silva, rebounding off the post to the South American.

On the half hour, Man of the Match Tevez, started and finished the move leading to City’s third.

His initial pass on the halfway line fed through to Kolarov wide on the left. He played it to Silva in the Barnsley box and his sublime reverse ball fell to Tevez, who turned his marker and stroked the ball into the net.

Nasri, surprisingly named as a starter, did well for the fourth goal, picking out Tevez in the 50th minute with a deft pass from the byline. Tevez slightly scuffed shot was enough to beat keeper Luke Steele.

The fifth goal was engineered by the irresistible Silva and Tevez combination. The mercurial striker turned provider with a neat passing exchange after Silva advanced from the centre circle.

Adored by the fans, the Spaniard hit a right foot shot – as rare as a Lord Lucan sighting – which was saved by Steele, before knocking the rebound into the net with his more orthodox left boot.

James Milner, on for the tiring Tevez, slammed a howitzer of a shot against Steele’s post – the fourth time City have hit the woodwork in two games – while at the opposite end, Costel Pantilimon produced a trio of good saves to keep a 100% record of clean sheets during the FA Cup run.

It was synonymous of a show of complete professionalism, a job done and Wembley here we come.

ESPN (Essentially Snide Pernicious Nerds) in the guise of the plumb- in- the mouth-prat, Jon Champion, managed their usual smattering of anti-City vitriol in their commentary, despite the excellent manner of the win.

The media, having speculated that Guardiola, then Mourinho, then Pelligrini were to be installed at the Etihad this summer, are now claiming Valencia manager, Ernesto Valverde is being primed to succeed Roberto Mancini…for God’s sake why don’t they just shut it?

You only need to hear 43,000 plus voices singing “MANCINI, he comes from Italy to manage Man City, MANCINI…” to know where the fans’ allegiance lies.

The people have spoken – FORZAMANCINI – all the way to Wemberleeee…


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