Hiwula 3mins & 12mins, Fofana 13mins & 55mins, Robson (OG) 34mins, Cole 90+2mins
Ntcham (OG) 25mins, Mandron 87mins
- Match reports
- 28 March 2014 21:02
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc / pics by @vhaydn_mcfc
City Elite Development Squad’s Barclays u21 Premier League play-off charge picked up more momentum on Friday night as they put Sunderland to the sword with another dominant win.
They made it two six-goal wins inside five days with their 6-2 victory over the Black Cats, making it an aggregate 12-2 to the Blues for the week.
As they did on Monday in their 6-0 slaying of Blackburn, City made a lightning start to the game, running into a three-goal lead with just 13 minutes on the clock.
Sunderland reduced the arrears after 25 minutes when Olivier Ntcham unfortunately nodded a free-kick past his own goalkeeper, before Thomas Robson restored City’s three-goal lead nine minutes later with an own goal at the other end.
Fofana hit a 40 yard goal of the season contender to make it 5-1 ten minutes into the second half and substitute Devante Cole rounded off the scoring deep into additional time after Michael Mandron had scored an 87th minute consolation for the visitors.
EDS boss Patrick Vieira opted to make three changes to the team that took on Blackburn.
Shay Facey and Jason Denayer were reunited at the heart of the league’s second-tightest defence, while George Glendon returned at the base of midfield and Sinan Bytyqi replaced Devante Cole on the left wing.
Top scorer Hiwula remained as the focal point in attack after his four-goal haul against Rovers, while Parisian duo Fofana and Ntcham kept their places in the centre of midfield.
City were level with Sunderland on 31 points going into the game, meaning the Black Cats could leapfrog their hosts with an away win at the Etihad, while the Blues could move up as high as third ahead of the Saints in third place, just one point behind joint-leaders Fulham and Liverpool.
The match also provided the perfect opportunity to banish memories of City’s last appearance at the Etihad Stadium in this competition – the 2-1 defeat to Southampton earlier this month.
On that occasion, the Blues conceded goals in stoppage time at the end of both halves in a game they dominated which brought an abrupt end to their 12-match winning streak.
Playing at the first-team stadium always guarantees an extra special ingredient for developing footballers and it was clear that the home side wanted to make an immediate impression on those who braved the rain to get down and support them on this Friday night under the lights.
Hiwula only had to wait until the third minute to notch his fifth goal in two games, benefitting from an errant pass out of the Sunderland defence which put him clean through on goal and there was only ever going to be one outcome.
Although Sunderland keeper Joel Dixon got a hand to Jordy’s lash across him from the right corner of the area, the strike had too much on it and nestled into the back of the net.
Ten minutes later it was two and it was Hiwula again, showcasing his predatory instincts to chest down Fofana’s cross and volley it into the same corner as his first, past the keeper’s despairing dive for his 18th goal of the season.
Ntcham nodded a Jordan Laider free-kick past Ian Lawlor to reduce the deficit after 25 minutes, before Hiwula saw two good chances for his hat-trick denied by a pair of brilliant saves from the Sunderland keeper.
Undeterred by their concession, City’s front six continued to produce their brand of mesmerising link-up play, supported by the tireless work of the full-backs and it was no surprise that the Blues quickly re-established their three-goal lead.
Bytyqi sought out Lopes in the area with his slide-rule pass but Robson got there first and unwittingly stabbed the ball past his own goalkeeper to make it 4-1.
Despite having played three games less than many of their rivals, City came into this encounter looking to improve on their record as the second most prolific side in the competition, with their 37 goals scored in just 16 games.
Like the first-team, the EDS are known to pour forward in pursuit of more goals irrespective of the scoreline and that trend continued after the break with more exceptional attacking play, characterised by the high press, incisive through balls and measured crossfield passes to stretch a creaking Sunderland backline.
However, the fifth goal was a moment of pure individual inspiration from Fofana after 55 minutes.
The Frenchman took the ball out of his feet 40 yards from goal before unleashing a powerful, arcing strike which looked in from the moment it left his right foot.
Clipping the underside of the crossbar on its route to goal, the strike drew a gasp of disbelief from those gathered inside the Etihad Stadium.
Bytyqi, Lopes and Ntcham all had chances to make it six over the next 30 minutes but with a semi-final coming up in four days, City were able to ease off in the knowledge that the game had been won for a long time.
The game did burst to life with the final whistle approaching, when Mandron grabbed a late consolation for the visitors after rounding Ian Lawlor but Cole had the last word, scoring his 12th of the season deep into injury time to underline City’s dominance.
Next up, City host Burnley in the Barclays u21 Premier League cup semi-final at Leigh Sports Village on Tuesday night.