Holders Manchester City all but secured a place in the final of next month’s League Cup at Wembley as Gabriel Jesus struck four goals in a 9-0 thrashing of Burton Albion in their semifinal first leg on Wednesday.
Kevin de Bruyne, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker and Riyad Mahrez were also on target against a brutally outclassed Nigel Clough’s League One side as City ensured their visit to the Pirelli Stadium on January 23 is a mere formality.
After also thrashing Rotherham 7-0 in the FA Cup on Sunday with a much-changed side, Guardiola was able to again hand a rest to a number of his key players but named a strong side with De Bruyne continuing his comeback from injury.
And the Belgian set the tone for the evening by heading City into a fifth-minute lead as he timed his run into the box perfectly to head home David Silva’s cross.
Clough admitted before the game it would take a “miracle” for Burton to blunt the Premier League champions’ might over two legs.
He was right, even if the visitors missed a glorious chance to get straight back on level terms when Marcus Harness blasted over Lucas Akins’s cross when completely unmarked inside the penalty box.
Jesus then headed home his first from close range after Bradley Collins had denied Leroy Sane before the Brazilian slotted home Silva’s cushioned pass via the inside of the post.
City got some luck when Zinchenko’s intended cross then looped over Collins to make it 4-0.
Jesus powered home a header to complete his second hat-trick of the season, and substitute Phil Foden, who was surprisingly left out the stating XI, scored his third City goal four minutes after coming on.
Jesus soon bagged his fourth with a delicate finish from Sane’s cross and City’s dominance was summed up when right-back Kyle Walker strode forward to fire home his side’s eighth of the evening.
Mahrez made it nine seven minutes from time and those City fans still in the Etihad cried for a historic 10th – which never came.