Man City advance in FA Cup; holders Arsenal eliminated
Sports Desk, Jan 23 (efe-epa).- Manchester City found themselves trailing to fourth-division Cheltenham with 10 minutes left in Saturday’s FA Cup tie, but came back to win 1-3 and advance to the fifth round.
But Arsenal lost 1-0 at Southampton to crash out of the tournament months after hoisting the FA Cup for a record-extending 14th time, while Premier League sides Brighton & Hove Albion, West Ham United and Sheffield United each dispatched opponents from the lower tiers to book their spots in the next round.
In Cheltenham, City had 73 percent possession and outshot the hosts 9-2, yet they ended up having to come from behind to secure their passage to the next round of the world’s oldest national soccer competition.
The visitors would have led inside the first minute but for Cheltenham goalkeeper Josh Griffiths, who denied Gabriel Jesus on a tremendous chance for the Brazilian.
Then came the turn of Ben Tozer, who thwarted City’s Benjamin Mendy with a goal-line clearance.
Griffiths did well to stop Ferran Torres from close range moments before Alfie May forced a save from City keeper Zack Steffen.
Play had to be halted for several minutes late in the first half as rounds of fireworks launched from outside the stadium landed on the pitch.
The post stopped Jesus from putting Man City ahead five minutes into the second half and the match clock was approaching the hour mark when May scored for Cheltenham off a long throw-in by Tozer.
City reacted, but again, Griffiths did his part, stopping Riyad Mahrez before finally conceding to Phil Foden in the 81st minute.
Gabriel Jesus beat Griffiths in the 87th to put City on top and Torres added a third goal on the last kick of the game.
Saturday’s action began on the South Coast, where an improving Arsenal sought to sustain their quest for a 15th FA Cup title against Southampton, a team one step above the Gunners in the Premier League table.
Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno was able to bat away a strike from Che Adams in the 14th minute, but could do nothing 10 minutes later when a ball across the goal by Kyle Walker-Peters took a deflection off defender Gabriel and into the net for an own goal.
The closest the visitors came to equalizing was an Eddie Nketiah effort tipped away by Saints keeper Fraser Forster.
In London, West Ham routed third-division Doncaster 4-0 on goals by Pablo Fornals, Andriy Yarmolenko, Andy Butler and the visitors’ Oladapo Afolayan, who inadvertently put the ball in his own net.
Brighton edged Blackpool, another third-tier squad, 2-1. Yves Bissouma and Steven Alzate scored for the Seagulls on either side of a first-half stoppage-time goal for the visitors by Gary Madine.
Third division Plymouth Argyle lost 2-1 to the last-place team in the Premier League, Sheffield United. Chris Basham and Billy Sharp put the Blades ahead before Panutche Camara clawed one back in the 75th minute.
Millwall lost 0-3 to Bristol City in a clash of second division teams. Swansea City, currently second in the second-tier, crushed 20th-place Nottingham Forest 5-1. EFE