Riyad Mahrez scored a hat-trick as Manchester City sailed past Sheffield United 3-0 in the FA Cup semi-finals, making their quality count to end a good week where they also booked their place in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League.
Manchester City had 79 percent of the ball against the Championship promotion hopefuls, but Sheffield dug in and defended bravely until Mahrez’s 43rd-minute penalty.
The Algerian doubled City’s lead 16 minutes into the second half after running clean through unchallenged, and completed his hat-trick five minutes later to assure the win, a Xinhua report said.
City will play the winner of Sunday’s semifinal between Brighton and Manchester United.
Pep Guardiola’s side went into their Cup game after good news in the Premier League, as league leaders Arsenal drew 3-3 at home to bottom side Southampton on Friday night.
Arsenal fought back from 3-1 down to snatch a point with two goals in the last three minutes on Friday, but despite the drama, the result is still two mote points dropped by Mikel Arteta’s side.
The result leaves Arsenal five points ahead of Manchester City, but they have played two more matches and now need to win in their vital visit to City’s Etihad Stadium in the middle of next week.
Rapid goals from Carlos Alcaraz and Theo Walcott put Southampton 2-0 up. Gabriel Martinelli pulled a goal back before halftime, but Duje Caleta-Car made it 3-1 in the 66th minute. Martin Odegaard provided drama in the 88th minute and Bukayo Saka saved a point in the last minute of normal time, but Arsenal will see it as two more points dropped after draws against Liverpool and West Ham.
On Saturday, Douglas Luiz’s 87th-minute goal saved a point for Aston Villa, whose five-game winning run ended with a 1-1 draw away to Brentford, who had taken a 65th-minute lead through Ivan Toney.
Liverpool move a point behind Aston Villa in seventh with a 3-2 win at home to struggling Nottingham Forest, thanks to two goals from Diogo Jota and another from Mohamed Salah.
Forest twice drew level with goals from Neco Williams and Morgan Gibbs-White in a spirited, but ultimately fruitless display.
Dean Smith saw Leicester City win 2-1 at home to Wolverhampton on his home debut as coach, with Timothy Castagne netting a second-half winner after Kelechi Iheanacho canceled out Matheus Cunha’s early goal for the visitors.
That result sees Everton drop into the bottom three despite a battling point in a 0-0 draw away to Crystal Palace.
Leeds United are also in desperate trouble after Harry Wilson and Andreas Pereira condemned them to a 2-1 defeat at Fulham.