Everton’s FA Cup hopes were dashed for another year as Man City scored twice in the last six minutes to progress to the semi-finals.
Man City came into the game bidding to win an unprecedented quadruple of honours, while Everton were looking to land their first piece of silverware since they last won the FA Cup back in 1995.
The Toffees were, however, forced to sit deep right from the off as City dominated possession in trademark style, the hosts keeping it compact at the back and restricting the Premier League leaders to just one effort from outside the area which was routinely collected by third-choice ‘keeper, Joao Virginia.
The Portuguese was however forced into a more impressive save just before the hour mark, diving to his left to tip a Raheem Sterling effort round the post.
City kept pilling men forward, with Aymeric Laporte marching forward out of defence, and with six minutes remaining, Pep Guardiola’s side got the reward for their persistence. Laporte drove forward, exchanged passes with Kevin de Bruyne before seeing his effort tipped onto the bar by Virginia, only for Ilkay Gundogan to react the quickest to head his side in front.
The 2018/19 FA Cup winners would extend their lead in the 90th minute, substitute Rodri playing a first time ball over the top of the Everton defence to find the run of De Bruyne, the 29-year-old advancing into the box, shifting the ball onto his left before tucking past the young ‘keeper.
Speaking afterwards, Carlo Ancelotti admitted he was ‘satisfied’ with his side’s performance against ‘the best team in the world’.
— Goal (@goal) March 20, 2021
“We were almost there, we did well and we did the best that we can do,” he told BT Sport. “We defended well and for at least 80 minutes, we had the game under control.
“I am satisfied because we were beaten by the best team in the world – they are the best.
“We wanted to keep them uncomfortable. Of course, they are comfortable with the ball but we defended well and we didn’t concede space. We played the game that we wanted to play.
“They have the best bench in the world. It was a good experience for us and there are no regrets. The regrets are the games against Burnley or the game against Fulham, but we are on time. We have 10 games in the league and we want to fight for our position in Europe next season.
Joao Virginia was thrust into action following the recent injuries to Jordan Pickford and Robin Olsen, and he was pleased with the performance of the 21-year-old.
“He did really well. He has not much experience but he has quality. He always works really hard and he’s really focused.”
Next up for Everton following the international break is a home game against Crystal Palace in the Premier League.