Manchester City are through to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup for the third time in four seasons after beating Oxford 3-1.
Matt Taylor gave the hosts hope of a remarkable upset when he equalised, cancelling out Joao Cancelo’s opener.
Raheem Sterling then scored a brace to send the champions through.
Oxford had actually matched them for attempts 18) and had more shots on target (five to City’s four).
As expected though, this was far from City’s strongest team.
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Pep Guardiola opted for Claudio Bravo in goal, while in defence he handed opportunities to two teenagers in Eric Garcia (18) and Taylor Harwood-Bellis (17).
The stats suggest the pair had a lot to deal with but they showed signs of promise.
In fact, Sterling was so impressed with Harwood-Bellis that in their post-match interview, when the centre-back was asked to give the England forward the Man of the Match trophy, he handed it back to him.
“I’ve got the easiest job – this is for Taylor,” he told Sky Sports.
“Taylor done brilliant tonight, I thought he was fantastic, won his headers, won his duels. I had the easy one, it was windy. You done brilliant, well done.”
Sterling also said he isn’t interested in personal achievements like outscoring Sergio Aguero if it doesn’t translate into City winning silverware.
The 25-year-old is on course to become the club’s first player to score more goals than Aguero in all competitions in a season since the Argentine joined in 2011.
“It wouldn’t mean anything without some silverware,” he added.
“The most important thing is to be in contention for silverware and then be happy with my goal tally after that.
“We’re trying to compete in every competition. The Premier League looks out of reach but we’re looking to make the finals of this, the FA Cup and even the Champions League. We have to try and compete on all fronts.”
Off the pitch, talk was dominated by Mikel Arteta’s impending exit with Arsenal expected to name him their manager by the end of the week.
Yet Sterling ensured it was business as usual as City took another step towards a third successive League Cup – and showed his class in the process.