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Sterling double helps Man City to quarter – finals

Manchester City score against Burnley in the Carabao Cup
Manchester City are unbeaten in the competition since October 2016

Raheem Sterling’s first two Manchester City goals of the season – and Ferran Torres’ first for the club – ensured the holders reached the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup at Burnley’s expense.

City dominated the game and Burnley keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell had to twice smartly deny Sterling before the England forward got the breakthrough after Benjamin Mendy’s cross.

Burnley struggled to create chances and it required a fine block by Peacock-Farrell to deny Sterling, who has scored 33 goals for City since the start of last season, his hat-trick.

It was the perfect response by Pep Guardiola’s side after their 5-2 home drubbing by Leicester City last Sunday.

The draw for the quarter-finals takes place after Liverpool’s tie against Arsenal (19:45 BST) on Thursday.

Night of positives for City

After last weekend’s nightmare, this was much more positive for City as 18-year-old Cole Palmer offered a glimpse into the future while key centre-back Aymeric Laporte proved a calming influence on his return.

Born in Wythenshawe, boyhood City fan Palmer showed flashes of promise on his senior debut.

The teenager had one attempt that went over the bar and then tried to pick out Sterling to complete his hat-trick, with Burnley scrambling it clear.

Laporte, who tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, was making his first appearance of the season.

Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling celebrate a Manchester City goal against Burnley in the Carabao Cup
Cole Palmer celebrates with Raheem Sterling during Manchester City’s win over Burnley in the Carabao Cup

Against a Burnley side that lacked cutting edge, the Frenchman helped City to a first clean sheet since 26 July.

The Clarets had two shouts for a penalty, the first when Charlie Taylor went down inside the penalty area and the second after Kyle Walker’s challenge on winger Dwight McNeil.

Referee Andrew Madley waved both appeals away and, with no video assistant referee in operation to review it and give the Clarets a glimmer of hope, Burnley’s run in the competition ended.

‘Far away from our best’ – what they said

Burnley boss Sean Dyche: “We thought we would have to put a strong side out, we’re stretched and we’re trying to rest people but we can’t really because we’ve got to keep going.

“I know Manchester City have got a few injuries themselves but they still put some very good players out there and they delivered a performance to win the game.”

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola: “It was important we didn’t concede and the team was good in general. We are still far away from our best because we’re not training much. We have a lot of players out, six because of Covid and four injuries.

“But step by step, when we have all the squad, we will get better

“Ferran Torres needs to improve some things, because we haven’t trained much or spoke much. He has the skills, he’s young, he’s aggressive and he can play on both sides.”

BBCSPORTS

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