Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Pellegrini's Man City in second gear as they complete cup demolition job against West Ham

It's there: Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero chips the ball over West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen in their win at Upton Park

MANCHESTER City subjected West Ham United to another cruel beating as Manuel Pellegrini's men cruised into the Capital One Cup final with a 9-0 aggregate victory.

City hammered West Ham 6-0 in the first leg of the semi-final two weeks ago and no mercy was spared again in the return tie at Upton Park.

Not for the first time this season it was City's dynamic duo of Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo who did the damage in this 3-0 win.

Negredo opened the scoring after two minutes with a close-range header and he rounded off the win in the second half after Aguero had made it 2-0.

Negredo and Aguero have now scored an incredible 45 goals between them for City this term.

They will now be hoping that Manchester United overturn their first-leg deficit against Sunderland to set up a mouthwatering derby final on Sunday March 2.

West Ham, who were booed off the pitch, were always going to be up against it after the manner of their first-leg defeat, but the main thing that will worry manager Sam Allardyce was his team's lack of fight on what was a depressing night for Hammers fans inside a less than half-full Upton Park.

Allardyce will also be concerned by the fact that Mohamed Diame and Joe Cole suffered injuries.

Those among the 14,390 fans who turned up and bought a programme read rallying cries from Allardyce, captain Kevin Nolan and co-owner David Gold.

Gold called for character and guts, but instead he got complete capitulation.

With 175 seconds gone Marcos Lopes was given a couple of yards of space down the left. He whipped in a pin-point cross for an unmarked Negredo who headed home.

City's noisy travelling support started singing about Wembley. The home crowd sat in silence while Allardyce slumped into his chair with his arms folded.

Nolan thought he had equalised straightaway, but unlike Negredo he timed his run poorly and his header was ruled out for offside.

Aguero and Negredo were combining superbly. Aided by the quicksilver teenager Lopes and Jesus Navas, City were a pleasure to watch going forward.

The inevitable second came with 23 minutes on the clock and once again City had Lopes to thank.

The 18-year-old galloped forward from the halfway line and slipped past two West Ham players before finding Aguero via the boot of James Tomkins.

A comedy of errors played out as first Razvan Rat, and then Taylor slipped, allowing Aguero time to chip the ball past an onrushing Jaaskelainen.

West Ham were short on luck as well as quality. Joe Cole hobbled off with an injury. Stewart Downing came on in his place.

Joleon Lescott then took down Ravel Morrison inside the box, but referee Chris Foy waved play on.

West Ham offered little more going forward and they found themselves 3-0 down just before the hour.

Negredo did nearly all the work this time. The Spaniard held off the challenges of three West Ham players before chipping the ball over Jaaskelainen from the tightest of angles.

Diame was carried off on a stretcher shortly before the final whistle, which was greeted by loud booing from the home support.

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