Strikers Wilfried Bony and Kelechi Iheanacho were among the goalscorers as Manchester City eased into the Capital One Cup quarter-finals with a 5-1 win over Crystal Palace.
With Sergio Aguero still injured, the spotlight remains on City’s other forwards and Bony set them on the way to a comfortable win at the Etihad Stadium with a fine header.
The lively 19-year-old Iheanacho then got in on the act after Kevin De Bruyne had maintained his recent scoring streak with City’s second.
Yaya Toure added a fourth from the penalty spot and substitute Manu Garcia rounded off a good night’s work with a fifth in stoppage time after a Damien Delaney consolation.
City’s victory came without them ever really hitting top gear, although they were soon into their stride as De Bruyne seized on a Scott Dann mistake and burst clear only to shoot across goal after two minutes.
Palace threatened briefly as Yannick Bolasie sliced a volley wide and then both he and Joe Ledley had chances in a goalmouth scramble but Willy Caballero eventually dived on the ball.
Pablo Zabaleta and Bolasie had a bruising battle on the flank and both required lengthy treatment after a clash of heads. Zabaleta was bandaged in now trademark fashion while Bolasie was down for some time – accounting for most of the five minutes first-half stoppage time – before eventually getting back to his feet.
Worse did follow for Zabaleta as he was carried off on a stretcher after a clash with Wilfried Zaha early in the second half, but by then City were already 3-0 up and cruising.
Their opening goal came in the 22nd minute as Bony met a De Bruyne corner with a firm header that Wayne Hennessey could not keep out.
It was a fine finish and seemingly just the confidence boost the Ivorian needed as he continues to lead the line with Aguero out, but he could not follow it up.
With his next chance he sliced high and wide, and he could then only shoot tamely at Hennessey. There was an even poorer effort after the break as he completely miskicked in front of goal.
City doubled the lead just before the interval as Iheanacho raced onto a Fernando pass and pulled the ball back for De Bruyne to tuck in from close range.
Palace should have pulled one back immediately but Ledley blasted over after a cross squirmed out of Caballero’s grasp.
City upped the tempo to claim a third just before the hour. De Bruyne, who had himself tested Hennessey just moments earlier, squared for Iheanacho to bury a low shot.
Palace’s misfortune continued as Zaha slipped when in on goal and Patrick Bamford could not beat Caballero. They then needlessly conceded a penalty as Damien Delaney bundled over Mangala at a corner. Toure confidently converted from the spot.
Delaney pulled one back with a superb header with 89 minutes on the clock but 17-year-old Garcia, having been introduced as a late substitute, showed fine composure to claim City’s fifth.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
“At the stadium come on City #mcfc” – Injured Man City midfielder Samir Nasri (@SamNasri19).
Willy Caballero: 6 (out of 10)
Pablo Zabaleta: 7
Eliaquim Mangala: 7
Martin Demichelis: 7
Aleksandar Kolarov: 6
Jesus Navas: 6
Yaya Toure: 6
Kevin De Bruyne: 7
Wilfried Bony: 7
Kelechi Iheanacho: 8
Bacary Sagna: 6
Patrick Roberts: 6
Manu Garcia: 6
Wayne Hennessey: 5
Adrian Mariappa: 5
Damien Delaney: 6
Scott Dann: 6
Martin Kelly: 6
Mile Jedinak: 6
Joe Ledley: 5
Wilfried Zaha: 6
Jordon Mutch: 6
Yannick Bolasie: 7
Patrick Bamford: 5
Lee Chung-yong: 5
Dwight Gayle: 5
Joel Ward: 5
Kelechi Iheanacho. The Nigerian youngster looked lively from the start playing up front with Wilfried Bony. City need another attacking option in the continued absence of Sergio Aguero and he suggested he could provide it. He did not get many chances but was full of running and claimed a deserved goal.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Manu Garcia. The game was long over and Palace knew they were beaten, but there was still something uplifting about Garcia’s late goal. The teenager raced clear and calmly wrong-footed Hennessey to score. City have been yearning for some of their youngsters to break through for some time and both Garcia and Iheanacho showed promise.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Manuel Pellegrini and Alan Pardew have clashed on more than one occasion but there was no needle this time as City strolled to victory. Pardew looked resigned to defeat for most of the second half, standing on the edge of his technical area with his hands in his pockets. Pellegrini’s side did the job expected of them with little alarm.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Despite the scoring of six goals, some of the finishing on display was poor. Wilfried Bony did score but was otherwise lamentable in front of goal, struggling to hit the target. Joe Ledley also may want to look at himself for spurning a golden opportunity.
WHO’S UP NEXT?
Man City v Norwich, Premier League (Saturday October 31)
Crystal Palace v Man Utd, Premier League (Saturday October 31)