LONDON (Reuters) – Premier League leaders Manchester City recovered from two goals down to beat Championship side Swansea City 3-2 at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday and progress to the FA Cup semi-finals.
Having secured a last-eight spot in the Champions League to go with their League Cup title, City made a strong start as they looked to continue their quest to become the first side to win all four major trophies in an English season.
However, they were opened up after 20 minutes by Connor Roberts who drew a foul from Fabian Delph in the penalty area and Matt Grimes converted from the spot to give Swansea the lead.
Nine minutes later it was two as former Manchester City youth player Bersant Celina finished off a flowing Swansea move to stun his former employers.
The Premier League side struggled to break Swansea down after the break, but Bernardo Silva’s goal in the 68th minute got the visitors back in the match.
From then on in it was all Manchester City and an own goal off the back of Swansea goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt after substitute Sergio Aguero’s 77th-minute penalty had hit the post levelled the tie.
Aguero missed a glorious chance to score but the Argentine striker had the final say when he headed the winner two minutes from time from what looked an offside position.
“We spoke at halftime that we need one goal and after we score one goal the rest will be easier,” City manager Pep Guardiola said. “But the spirit and persistence helped us to win the game.”
Guardiola named a strong side for the trip to Wales, but left leading goalscorers Raheem Sterling and Aguero on the bench.
City still had plenty of firepower on the pitch but Swansea stood firm in the early stages and after Roberts was upended in the box Grimes stroked home his penalty with aplomb.
Swansea then carved City open with a slick passing move and it was superbly finished off by Celina.
“We try to play that way,” Swansea manager Graham Potter said of the second goal.
“I said before the game if you do be yourself you might just get a miracle.”
After Bernardo Silva’s superb finish with the outside of the boot got his side a foothold in the match, Aguero was presented with the perfect chance to draw City level after Sterling had been felled in the penalty area.
City knew their luck was in after Aguero’s spot-kick went in off the back of Nordfeldt but the keeper then brilliantly denied Aguero from close range.
Aguero had the last laugh, however, when he headed his 28th goal of the season in all competitions, although he appeared to be offside and the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system was not being used in the match to the dismay of the Swansea fans.
“All around Europe there is VAR,” Guardiola said. “Here there is not. I don’t like to win in that way. I am sorry.”
(Reporting by Peter Hall, editing by Ed Osmond)