Irresistible Manchester City scored nine goals as they thrashed League One Burton Albion with an incredible display of attacking football in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at Etihad Stadium.
Gabriel Jesus scored four with Kevin de Bruyne, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker and Riyad Mahrez also scoring against Nigel Clough’s beleaguered side.
Headers from De Bruyne and Jesus made it 2-0, Jesus tapped in a third and Zinchenko’s curler put City four up.
Jesus added two more headers, with Foden, Walker and Mahrez also scoring.
This was the first time in more than 21 years that City had scored more than eight goals in a single match – they beat Huddersfield Town 10-1 in a second-tier league encounter in November 1987.
It means City have scored 16 goals in four days after thrashing Rotherham United 7-0 in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.
The second leg, merely just a formality, takes place at the Pirelli Stadium on Wednesday, 23 January, with the final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, 24 February.
City, the current Carabao Cup holders, are set to meet either Tottenham or Chelsea in the final, with Spurs leading 1-0 after Harry Kane’s penalty gave them a first-leg victory at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.
City kill the tie off in 37 minutes
Before the game, Guardiola called the tournament “a more local competition” and said “everybody is happy to win but no-one is sad to go out”.
However, the Spaniard still named a strong team that included De Bruyne, Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Sane and Jesus, with starts for 20-year-old goalkeeper Arijanet Muric and Spanish centre-half Eric Garcia, on his 18th birthday.
It only took them five minutes to break through with De Bruyne’s header, and Sane almost added a second but fired into the side netting.
But three goals in a seven-minute spell in the first half took the tie away from Nigel Clough’s side.
Jesus got his first with a header after Sane’s effort had been parried by Collins, and the Brazilian tapped in from Sane’s cross to make it 3-0, with the goal given after a video assistant referee check to see if he had been onside, which he was.
Zinchenko got his first City goal when he looped the ball over Collins from the edge of the penalty area, with Mahrez denied a fifth when the Burton goalkeeper tipped over his effort.
City did not let up after the break as Jesus completed his hat-trick when he headed in from Silva’s cross, and the sixth goal was scored by Foden, following up after Collins had denied Jesus.
But the Brazilian grabbed his fourth of the game three minutes later, with a tap-in from Sane’s low delivery.
Walker made it 8-0 with a side-footed finish and Silva hit the outside of the post, although the ninth was not far away as Mahrez bundled in another goal.
City had a chance to get a 10th but Zinchenko’s header was saved on the line by Collins.
City have won this competition in three of the past five years and last year’s success was Guardiola’s first trophy in English football. With City playing eight matches in a hectic January, Guardiola will now have the luxury of resting some players for the second leg.
A tough evening for Burton’s fans
Burton, ninth in League One – 51 places below City, were playing in their first major cup semi-final, and around 3,000 of their supporters had tickets for the match at Etihad Stadium.
However, numerous traffic incidents caused tailbacks on the M6 with only one of their 31 fan coaches at the ground an hour before kick-off.
Some of their fans had still not taken their seats when De Bruyne’s header put the hosts in front, but the away fans should have been celebrating an equaliser seven minutes later, although Marcus Harness could only shoot over when unmarked 12 yards from goal.
That miss proved crucial as Burton were then outclassed by a ruthless City side. Clough’s side still created chances, though, and Scott Fraser had an effort saved by Muric and shot just over early in the second half as the Brewers fans were denied a goal they wanted.
Burton had beaten five teams to reach this stage – including Premier League Burnley and Championship sides Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough – but were powerless to stop a rampant City outfit.
Man of the match – Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
‘Quality breeds quality’ – analysis
Dion Dublin, former Aston Villa striker on BBC Radio 5 live
When you have got so much quality pushing quality you are going to get better performances. Pep Guardiola knows he is going to push Liverpool all the way in the Premier League title race, and this performance shows that he has players fighting for those shirts.
It doesn’t matter to a centre-forward about the opposition. When the ball leaves any part of your body and goes into the back of the net, that is the feeling you work so hard for. Tonight will give Gabriel Jesus a lot of confidence.
‘Never scored four before’ – what they said
Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus on Sky Sports: “I have never scored four before in my career, I am so happy for this. We played very well and with respect, that’s important.
“Players like me want to play more, to help the team, and we went out there to win.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: “The result was good and of course we are already in the final but we have to play the second leg. We will take it seriously. Burton have had an incredible tournament. They have to be so proud, they did so well.
“Strikers need to score goals, Gabriel Jesus has had chances in the last few games and today he has scored. He is so important.
“It is not easy to play this type of game against a lower team, we made good runs in behind and we took it seriously. After the second and third goal it was easier, we were faster and quicker.
“I am off for a glass of wine with Nigel Clough, I know how important his father was for English football, he was a genius. Incredible. It will be a pleasure to share some minutes with him.”
Manchester City return to Premier League action on Monday, 14 January at home against Wolves (20:00 GMT) and then face Huddersfield away on the following Sunday, before the second leg on 23 January.
For Burton, they have a home match with Gillingham on Saturday and an away game at Doncaster the following week before facing Guardiola’s side again.