Manchester City managed to scrape through to the Capital One Cup quarter-finals after a turgid match at St. James' Park saw them overcome Newcastle United 2-0 after extra time on Wednesday.
Newcastle v Man City on tv. Movement, energy, beauty. That's Autumn Watch on BBC2 by the way, not that god awful match on Sky— Toaster Wolves (@ToasterWolves) October 30, 2013
With both teams making a host of changes to their usual starting lineups, the impetus was on the incoming players to make an impact and perhaps win their place on a regular basis—but none can claim to have done that other than City keeper Costel Pantilimon.
In truth, the game was a dull, uninspiring affair with little tempo or energy about the 90 minutes save for the odd burst forward from defence from Micah Richards or Mathieu Debuchy.
78 - Manchester City did not manage a shot on target in tonight's game against Newcastle until the 78th minute (Negredo). Frustrated.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 30, 2013
Newcastle had the ball in the net through Shola Ameobi in the first half, only for it to be waved off for offside, while Papiss Cisse missed a hatful of chances throughout the 120 minutes of play.
It took until almost 10 minutes into extra time for the first legitimate goal to arrive, with Alvaro Negredo tapping home from close range after Edin Dzeko's cutback.
A few minutes later City sealed the win, James Milner instrumental in releasing Dzeko to round goalkeeper Tim Krul and slot home for a 2-0 advantage.
There were no late fireworks, as befitted the rest of the match, and Newcastle exited with rather a whimper.
Key Player Ratings
Costel Pantilimon: B+
He has a chance to usurp Joe Hart as City's regular stopper for the time being and certainly did his chances no harm with this display. He made two fine stops of Cisse, took almost everything cleanly in the air and distributed the ball well. Pantilimon maybe was not called into action quite often enough on through balls to judge whether he'd be an improvement on Hart in that regard.
Papiss Cisse: C+
He worked hard and led the Newcastle line well in terms of his movement and attempting to hold the ball up, but Cisse is a man so far out of form it's unreal. He missed two great chances when the game was scoreless that might have made all the difference. The 120 minutes might do him good, but the missed opportunities won't.
Edin Dzeko: B
Dzeko had basically very little impact on the game in 90 minutes as Manchester City utterly failed to create any kind of sustainable pressure on the home side's defence. But as all good strikers should, he took one or two key moments on the ball and made all the difference with them, assisting once and scoring another. Game over.
Newcastle are out, but City march into the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup along with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.