Manchester City avenged their recent loss to Chelsea in the Premier League with a 2-0 home win on Saturday that sent them into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
City’s perfect home record in the league was spoilt last week when Chelsea pulled off a 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium, but goals in each half from Stevan Jovetic and Samir Nasri gave Manuel Pellegrini’s side revenge.
Both managers named strong teams for the heavyweight fifth-round clash, but hosts City dominated from the off.
Jovetic seemed determined to impress and after clipping a shot just over the crossbar when Petr Cech spilled an effort from Yaya Toure, the Montenegrin forward broke the deadlock in the 16th minute.
Edin Dzeko was the architect with a measured pass into the box for Jovetic, who placed a delicate shot into the net via the base of the left-hand post.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho introduced January signing Mohamed Salah and striker Fernando Torres in the second half, but it was City substitute Nasri who made the difference.
Back in action after a five-week lay-off with a knee injury, the Frenchman doubled City’s lead in the 67th minute when he played a neat one-two with David Silva before prodding the ball into an unguarded net.
City centre-back Joleon Lescott saw a goal ruled out for offside shortly afterwards, but it was the only source of regret for the hosts, who welcome Barcelona to the Etihad in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Wigan Athletic’s defence of the Cup remains on course, meanwhile, after the second-tier side won 2-1 at Premier League club Cardiff City to reach the last eight.
Shock 1-0 winners over Manchester City in last season’s final, Wigan were subsequently relegated to the Championship but they put paid to Cardiff thanks to a fine goal from cup final match-winner Ben Watson.
Wigan took the lead in the 18th minute at the Cardiff City Stadium when Chris McMann converted a cross from Jordi Gomez, but the hosts levelled nine minutes later through Fraizer Campbell.
Watson notched what proved to be the winner five minutes before half-time, lashing home a thunderbolt from Marc-Antoine Fortune’s tapped free-kick to send Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Cardiff out of the competition.
“We take it game by game,” said Wigan manager Uwe Rosler, whose side beat Crystal Palace in round four.
“I wanted to compete against the best teams in the country and Cardiff today gave us the possibility, and we stood our own ground very well.”
Earlier, Craig Gardner scored a magnificent winning goal as Sunderland beat top-flight rivals Southampton 1-0 to become the first side to progress from the fifth round.
After a low-key first half, Gardner illuminated proceedings in the 49th minute with a goal of shimmering quality, side-stepping Victor Wanyama and dispatching a 25-yard shot that crashed in off the bar.
Sunderland have also qualified for the League Cup final, where they will face Manchester City, but manager Gus Poyet said that avoiding relegation from the Premier League remains his top priority.
Bob Stokoe, manager of the Sunderland team that won the FA Cup in 1973, is commemorated by a statue outside the Stadium of Light, but Poyet said: “Me, I would prefer to stay in the Premier League.
“I am not looking for a statue, that’s for sure.”
The scheduled encounter between second-tier sides Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic was postponed earlier on Saturday due to a waterlogged pitch at Wednesday’s Hillsborough home.
All of Saturday’s games were preceded by a moment of reflection in memory of former England and Preston North End great Tom Finney, who died on Friday at the age of 91.