A hat-trick from Carlos Tevez inspired Manchester City to a 5-0 drubbing of Championship side Barnsley in their FA Cup quarter-final at Etihad Stadium.
Tevez, who was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of driving while disqualified, was in the right place at the right time on three occasions as Roberto Mancini’s side cut the Tykes to shreds in a one-sided clash.
In addition to his sixth hat-trick in English football, Tevez weighed in with two assists as Aleksandar Kolarov and David Silva found the net.
Even though City rested several first-team regulars, including goalkeeper Joe Hart, they were expected to dominate the Championship strugglers.
Barnsley showed spirit and fight throughout, but they struggled to pass halfway and created nothing of note in an opening 45 minutes that saw City play some excellent football.
Edin Dzeko, linked with a move to Borussia Dortmund this week, headed just over after a fine cross from the excellent Samir Nasri on eight minutes.
Soon after he sparked a move that yielded the opening goal, the Bosnian picking out Yaya Toure, whose flicked pass into the box landed for Silva. The Spaniard’s finish came off the post, and Tevez tapped it in.
Dzeko again sent a header off target, the delivery once again from Nasri, but it was 2-0 soon afterwards with the Bosnian involved once more.
This time he released Tevez down the right, with the Argentine curving a superb low pass that completely confounded the visiting defence. Kolarov had continued his run from left-back and drove home a flashing low finish.
Despite his personal woes, Tevez was having another good day in the office and he gobbled up his second, another tap-in with Silva once more the provider, this time through judgement as opposed to misfortune as he cleverly cut back a pass through a crowded box.
Tevez was denied a personal treble before half-time when Kolarov’s wicked low cross deflected off Dzeko to land behind the Argentine, but it was only a matter of time.
The inevitable hat-trick came early in the second half as Tevez scuffed home after excellent play again from Nasri, who was giving Scott Wiseman a torrid time.
That led David Flitcroft to make wholesale changes, two of which helped create their first real effort on goal as Jacob Mellis completed a one-two with Jason Scotland before unleashing a fine effort that Costel Pantilimon did well to stop.
On-loan Manchester United midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe forced an even better save from the Romanian’s legs, while Mellis stung his palms from range again.
City stepped it up a gear again and it was soon 5-0 as Silva finished at the second time of asking after Luke Steele saved his initial effort. Tevez again set up the goal with a good low cross from the right.
It was not all positive for City though, with Nasri appearing to suffer a recurrence of a thigh injury, while Tevez was less than pleased when he was substituted, leaving the field after his now customary angry exchange with Mancini.
The latter stages of the match were a training routine of sorts for City, as sub James Milner hit the post after a long-running passing move.
With Barnsley put out of their misery by just one minute of stoppage time, City wound down the clock to seal their place at Wembley once more.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Carlos Tevez (Manchester City) – A hat-trick and two assists mean that Tevez is the player of a game where Nasri and Silva also shone.
MAN CITY: Pantilimon 7, Zabaleta 6, Kolo Toure 6, Lescott 6, Kolarov 7, Yaya Toure 6, Barry 7, Silva 8, Tevez 9, Nasri 8, Dzeko 7. Subs: Razak 6, Milner 7, Sinclair 6.
BARNSLEY: Steele 6, Wiseman 5, Cranie 5, Kennedy 5, Foster 4, Etuhu 5, Tunniciliffe 6, Perkins 5, Cywka 5, Dagnall 5, Harewood 5. Subs: Scotland 6, Mellis 6, O'Brien 5.