LONDON – Kevin De Bruyne starred as Manchester City stayed on course for an unprecedented quadruple of major trophies in the one season with a 2-0 win at Cardiff on Sunday that saw the runaway Premier League leaders into the last 16 of the FA Cup.
City, 12 points clear at the summit of English football, are bidding to bring the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League titles to the Etihad.
They made short work of second-tier Cardiff, with Belgian star De Bruyne putting them ahead just eight minutes when he deceived the home side with a brilliant free-kick that he struck under, rather than over, the defensive wall.
Bernardo Silva appeared to have doubled the visitors' lead with a thunderous 26th-minute shot but his goal was ruled out because the officials deemed Leroy Sane to be off-side and interfering with play.
It appeared a harsh call but, with the controversial video assistant referee system that is being trialled in some English cup ties this season not in use for this match, there was no way of reviewing the decision.
But the second goal that Pep Guardiola's men had threatened arrived in the 37th minute when Silva's superb curling cross from the left was glanced in by Raheem Sterling.
If you're going to send your side through to the FA Cup fifth round, do it in style.— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 28, 2018
Kevin De Bruyne's clever free-kick against Cardiff helped Man City to a 2-0 win -- pic.twitter.com/bvlRdHuDqp
Sane was the victim of a bad tackle by Joe Bennett in first-half stoppage time and was replaced at the break by Sergio Aguero.
Cardiff defender Bennett was sent off in injury time at the end of the match when he received a second yellow card for another poor challenge, on Brahim Diaz.