De Bruyne's double whammy finally tames Tigers
Man City 4-1 Hull City
Manchester City booked their place in the Capital One Cup semi-finals, but the 4-1 scoreline flatted them somewhat against Championship side Hull.
An early goal from Wilfried Bony should have been the platform for a comfortable win, but it was not until a strike from 19-year-old substitute Kelechi Iheanacho and a Kevin De Bruyne brace in the last 10 minutes that the match was wrapped up.
Hull left-back Andrew Robertson scored an even later consolation but, in truth, three-time winners City were not really stretched at any point.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini made five changes from Saturday's win over Southampton, which gave David Silva his first start in two months, and it affected their fluidity. Even the first goal came from a Hull mistake.
Hull made seven alterations from the defeat at Derby and that affected them even more.
There was no energy, no competitiveness, no outlet and no cutting edge with leading scorer Abel Hernandez relegated to the bench.
It led to a stultifying first half broken only by Bony's 12th-minute goal, which was virtually handed to the hosts when Hull attempted to launch a counter-attack, only for Sone Aluko and Chuba Akpom to leave the ball for one another.
De Bruyne did not need a second invitation and although his effort hit the post Bony was on hand to finish it off.
Conceding did little to rouse Hull from their slumber and it was not until two minutes before half-time they threatened in the opposition penalty area, but Akpom's promising diagonal run was not matched by the weak finish.
Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic could only bat away another long-range De Bruyne shot after the break.
The Tigers sent on Mohamed Diame and top-scorer Hernandez with the game technically still in the balance, but it was the introduction of Raheem Sterling which proved decisive as his 80th-minute cross was turned home by fellow substitute Iheanacho.
De Bruyne took advantage of widening gaps in Hull's defence to score his first and then whipped in a free-kick, meaning he has now been involved in 16 goals in 11 home matches for City.
Robertson's goal in added time at least gave the 5,000-strong travelling support something to cheer.
MAN CITY: Caballero, Sagna, Otamendi, Mangala, Clichy, Fernandinho, Delph, Navas (Sterling 62), Silva (Demichelis 83), De Bruyne, Bony (Iheanacho 71).
Goals: Bony 12, Iheanacho 80, De Bruyne 82, 87. Subs not used: Kolarov, Wright, Garcia Alonso, Humphreys-Grant.
HULL: Jakupovic, Odubajo, Maguire, Bruce, Elmohamady, Livermore, Hayden, Taylor (Diamé 58), Robertson, Aluko (Snodgrass 73), Akpom (Hernández 68).
Goal: Robertson 90
Subs not used: McGregor, Huddlestone, Clucas, Maloney.
Man of the match: De Bruyne
Match Rating: 7/10
Referee: Neil Swarbrick