TURF MOOR – In this congested season like no other, coaches are typically using the English League Cup to rest and rotate key players.
Not Pep Guardiola.
The Manchester City manager fielded all of his top available stars against Burnley on Wednesday in a bid to stay on course for a fourth straight title in the competition, and it paid off.
Raheem Sterling scored twice, off-season signing Ferran Torres added the third, and Kevin De Bruyne ran the game in City’s 3-0 win in a one-sided last-16 match.
Determined to win any trophy going, Guardiola might have also wanted to his team to rediscover its rhythm after a wild 5-2 loss to Leicester in the Premier League on Sunday — one of his heaviest defeats as a manager.
One step closer 🏆
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 30, 2020
City did just that, with Sterling looking more at home as a makeshift central striker — in the absence of the injured Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus — than he did against Leicester.
The England international could have had two or three goals before opening the scoring in the 35th minute by lashing in a left-footed finish from Benjamin Mendy’s cross.
Torres squared the ball across the face of goal to set up Sterling for a simple second goal in the 49th, and the roles were reversed in the 65th as Torres ran through to curl home a finish with aplomb for his first goal since joining from Valencia in August.
City has won five of the last seven editions of the League Cup. One more triumph will draw the team level on overall League Cup titles with Liverpool, which has captured it eight times.
Earlier, Newcastle avoided a major upset against fourth-tier Newport County by equalizing in the 87th minute and winning a penalty shootout to reach the quarter-finals.
Brandon Cooper fires over and Newcastle United progress!
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) September 30, 2020
Jonjo Shelvey took the game to spot kicks with a curling shot into the top corner, and Newcastle recovered after an early miss by Joelinton in the shootout to prevail 5-4.
Newcastle goalkeeper Mark Gillespie gifted the underdogs a fifth-minute opener by letting a tame shot from the edge of the area by Tristan Abrahams squirm through his grasp into the net.
Gillespie made partial amends by saving one of Newport’s penalties before Brandon Cooper blazed what proved to be the last attempt over the crossbar.
Newport was looking to reach the last eight for the first time in its 108-year history.
Manchester United was visiting Brighton and Everton was hosting West Ham in other all-Premier League match-ups.
Associated Press (AP)