Gabriel Jesus struck four as Manchester City powered towards the Carabao Cup final with a ruthless 9-0 demolition of League One Burton at the Etihad Stadium.
The tone for a one-sided semi-final first leg was set as Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring after just five minutes, with Jesus adding two and Oleksandr Zinchenko another before the break.
Jesus grabbed two more in a 13-minute second-half blitz that also saw Phil Foden and Kyle Walker hit the target before Riyad Mahrez completed the scoring late on.
It was City’s biggest win since they thrashed Huddersfield 10-1 in 1987 and ensured the second leg will be a formality.
By the end it was cruel on Burton and their fans, many of whom had endured an arduous journey to get to the game.
There were even some suggestions kick-off could be delayed after hundreds of approximately 3,000 travelling fans were caught up in traffic following a police incident on the M6 in Staffordshire.
👏 A huge thank you to all of our supporters at the Etihad Stadium this evening, you were absolutely brilliant!— Burton Albion FC (@burtonalbionfc) January 9, 2019
We hope that you have an easier journey home than you had to get here.#BAFC pic.twitter.com/uNgVNNjRmv
By the scheduled 7.45pm start, however, the vast majority did appear to have made it inside the stadium – although they may soon have been wishing they had not.
Pep Guardiola, who fielded a strong side as City ruthlessly disposed of Rotherham in the FA Cup on Sunday, again showed no intention of going easy and sent out a number of his big guns.
Two of them combined early on as David Silva floated in a perfect cross for an unmarked De Bruyne to score his first headed goal for City.
Burton did not seem to know what had hit them and this was evident when Marcus Harness was robbed of possession by a fired-up Jesus.
The visitors did show some spirit and Harness should have equalised when Lucas Akins fired in a low cross but the winger blazed well over.
That proved a rare attack for Burton and, after Mahrez had a goal disallowed for offside, Jesus doubled City’s lead by heading home a rebound after Bradley Collins kept out a Leroy Sane shot.
Ilkay Gundogan and Silva combined to set up Jesus’ second, which the Brazilian fired in off a post, and Zinchenko made it 4-0 at half-time when his cross from the left fortuitously flew into the top corner.
It might even have been five at the break but for a good save by on-loan Chelsea keeper Collins while a potential foul on Jesus in the area was deemed not to be a penalty following a VAR check.
The fifth came just before the hour as Jesus met a Mahrez cross with a firm header and substitute Foden made it six by pouncing from close range after Jesus was denied by Collins.
David Silva should have made it seven when he missed the target from close range but the next was not long in coming. Sane’s exquisite control and touch exposed the defence and Jesus flicked in his fourth of the night, with Walker thumping in City’s eighth moments later.
City were not finished and Mahrez poked home a Bernardo Silva cross seven minutes from time, but they fell just short of double figures.